F. Erik Brooks

Dr. F. Erik Brooks is a professor and associate director of the Centennial Honors College at Western Illinois University (WIU). He is originally from Montgomery, AL. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2002. He holds three master’s degrees. He earned a Master of Science in counseling and human development from Troy State University in 1992, a master of public administration from Auburn University Montgomery in 1998 and a master of education from Alabama State University in 1999. Dr. Brooks earned a bachelor of science in journalism and art from Troy State University in 1989.

Previously, he was the chair of the WIU Department of African American Studies and the interim director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center at Western Illinois University. Prior to coming to WIU, he taught political science and public administration at Georgia Southern University from 2002-2012. Also while at Georgia Southern University, he served as the director of the Master of Public Administration Program from 2004-2008, interim chair of the Department of Political Science, and an assistant to the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences from 2011-2012. He has held adjunct teaching positions at the University of Richmond from 2001-2002 and Alabama State University from 1992-1999.

Dr. Brooks is a renaissance man and a holistic academician, having served on both the academic and student affairs sides of the academy. Dr. Brooks has held mid-level administrative positions in student affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University from 1999- 2002 and Alabama State University from 1992-1999. Dr. Brooks has written extensively in the areas of African American history, public administration and American politics with his work appearing in scholarly journals, encyclopedias, academic guides, and books. Since 2006, he has authored or edited 10 books. Currently, he is working a manuscript about the Obama presidency. Dr. Brooks is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. When not working, he enjoys watching sports, traveling to sporting events, and traveling to Civil Rights and Civil War museums.


Richard O. Musser

Dr. Richard O. Musser is the Western Illinois University Department of Biological  Sciences interim chair. He started at WIU in 2003, and has been a full professor since Fall 2012.

Dr. Musser has been successful at obtaining National Science Foundation grants and variety of other grants totaling nearly $750,000 dollars. These grants have helped him promote department scholarship through numerous research assistantships and modern research tools such as a microarray scanner and bioanalyzer.

During his 14 years at WIU, Dr. Musser has also supervised the completion of nearly 30 graduate students. In addition he has had over 20 publications, including in the prestigious British Journal “Nature.”

His research focuses on the transcriptomic gene expression of plants and herbivore interactions. Currently Dr. Musser is helping investigate gene expression related to ovarian cancer. In addition, Dr. Musser is committed to the Macomb community as board member of the YMCA and the president of the McDonough County Dolphin Swim Team.

Sue Hum-Musser

Dr. Sue Hum-Musser is an associate professor in the WIU College of Biological Sciences. She earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics from Park University in Parkville, MO; her master’s degree in biology from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO and her doctoral degree in plant sciences from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR.

Dr. Hum-Musser has been teaching and conducting research at Western for 13 years, spending her first year at Spoon River College.

She teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses in cell and molecular biology and her research interest include examination of the molecular responses of agricultural crop plants (e.g. corn, soybean, tomato) that are fed on by insect pests (e.g. corn earworm) and also the corresponding insect responses to feeding on toxic plant defenses. This work deals with bioassays and examination of gene expression using RNA and protein assays.

Dr. Hum-Musser also works on plant beneficial microbes and natural insect pathogens that relate to this plant-insect interaction research.

She obtained several grants including a sizeable Natural Science Foundation (NSF) grant and has published several articles on this work in peer-reviewed journals, including notably an article in the journal “Nature.”

Dr. Hum-Musser works closely with her husband, Dr. Richard Musser, in teaching and research at Western. Together they have three children, Marc, 13, Madelin, 10 and Samantha, 5.

Paul A. Schlag

Dr. Paul A. Schlag is the chief of staff at Western Illinois University. Previously, he served as the associate director of the Centennial Honors College and the assistant department chair of the Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration (RPTA) Department. At Western, he was the recipient of the Provost’s Award of Excellence in Teaching with Technology and the College of Education and
Human Services Faculty Teaching Excellence Award.

Dr. Schlag earned a B.S. in recreational management and youth leadership from Brigham Young University (2000), a master of public administration from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (2001), an MEd with distinction in instructional technology from the University of Georgia (2005), and a PhD in recreation and leisure studies from the University of Georgia (2007). He and his wife, Abigail are the proud parents of Rebekah, Spencer, Hunter and Taylor Schlag.



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