Centennial Honors College

Centennial Honors College Staff

Centennial Honors College
Mon - Fri | 8am - 4:30pm
Leslie F. Malpass Library
North Side Ground Floor
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455
Quad Cities Advising
Building A, Room 1211
3300 River Drive
Moline, IL 61265
Dr. Richard "Rick" Hardy, Dean
Picture of Dr. Rick Hardy RJ-Hardy@wiu.edu

Richard J. (Rick) Hardy is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the Centennial Honors College at Western Illinois University. He received his undergraduate degree with honors in political science at Western Illinois University and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He has served on the faculties of Northern State University, Duke University and the University of Missouri-Columbia, and has taught a wide range of courses in American Politics, Constitutional Law, and Civic Leadership.

Rick believes that “free government requires active citizens.” To that end, he has been actively engaged in civic affairs. He helped lead several political reform drives, served on numerous government commissions and boards of directors, volunteered in civic organizations, consulted on dozens of political races at all levels of government, and served as a presidential elector in the Electoral College.

His administrative positions at the University of Missouri included: Assistant Director of the Honors College, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Director of the Masters’ Program in Public Policy, Director of the National Institute for Advanced Civic Studies, Director of Internships, and Founder and Director of the Institute for Leadership in Civic Education. Most recently, he completed a four-year term as Chair of the Political Science Department and two years as Interim Director of the Honors College at WIU.

Rick has also served as a political analyst for numerous media outlets (e.g., CNN, NBC News, FOX News, Associated Press), and has been quoted extensively in various outlets (e.g., Newsweek, USA Today, New York Times, US News & World Report, Kansas City Star, Parade Magazine, St. Louis Post-Dispatch). To date, has garnered over 60 significant teaching and civic leadership awards, including the University of Missouri’s four-campus Burlington Northern Faculty Achievement Award, the prestigious William Kemper Award, the Missouri Bar Association’s Civic Education Award, and two campus nominations for the Case National Professor of the Year Award. At Western Illinois University, he won several campus awards and was selected to deliver the John Hallwas Lecture in the Liberal Arts.

Finally, Rick has published or edited seven books and his articles have appeared in a number of professional journals. Rick is a native of Burlington, Iowa. He and his wife, Linda, have two grown children, four grandchildren, four dogs and two cats. His lifelong passion includes playing the plectrum banjo, 5-string banjo, and guitar. And for the past seven years Rick has been a member of the WIU’s Endnotes musical group.

Dr. Paul A. Schlag, Director
Picture of Paul Schlag P-Schlag@wiu.edu

Paul Schlag is the Director the Centennial Honors College at Western Illinois University. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Recreational Management and Youth Leadership and earned Masters Degrees from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in Public Administration and the University of Georgia in Instructional Technology (with Distinction). He completed his doctorate in Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Georgia.

Paul is an experienced, passionate, and dedicated higher education administrator and his academic interests include: student development, fiscal management, innovative teaching and learning, marketing, recruitment, retention, civic engagement, public administration, instructional technology, and lifelong learning. Higher education is a proven path to upward mobility and instrumental to fulfillment and development, so he desires that all individuals reap the multitudinous benefits of a university education.

Working with Western Illinois University students on a daily basis is Paul's greatest reward and his sincerest wish is to see his students advance, grow, seek excellence and succeed. Due to his work with students, he has been honored with the Provost's Award of Excellence in Teaching with Technology, the College of Education/Human Services Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, the Panhellenic Council Outstanding Teacher Award and several H.O.P.E. Awards (Honoring our Professors of Excellence). Dr. Schlag's teaching centers around community service and his students are actively involved in learning through community engagement (Service Week & Community Programs)

Originally from Colorado Springs, Dr. Schlag has lived in Utah, Russia (twice), Georgia and Illinois. He and his wife Abigail have four outstanding children and love to read, play sports, be outdoors, enjoy music, volunteer and attend church.

  Dr. Schlag's Vitae

Dr. Molly Homer, Academic Honors Advisor
Picture of Molly Homer MK-Homer@wiu.edu

Dr. Homer grew up in Ames, Iowa. She received her bachelor’s degree in Mathematical and Computational Sciences from Stanford University and then worked for three years as a database designer for a computer graphics company in Salt Lake City that built flight and submarine simulators for the military. She then moved to Champaign to pursue graduate work in Linguistics at the University of Illinois, where she received a master’s degree and Ph.D. Before coming to WIU she taught linguistics, phonetics, and phonology at several universities including the University of Alberta, UC San Diego, Brown University, and the University of Pittsburgh. In 2003 she joined the staff of the Centennial Honors College as an Academic Honors Advisor. Dr. Homer was selected as Western Illinois University’s “Academic Advisor of the Month” in October of 2014, and again in October of 2017. In 2018 Dr. Homer was given the “Outstanding Academic Advisor” award for 2017-2018, which is one of the Provost’s Awards for Academic Excellence at WIU. In 2019 Dr. Homer was awarded the "Outstanding Advising Award–Primary Advising Role Certificate of Merit" by the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA).

Krista Skien, Academic Honors Advisor
Picture of Krista Skien KE-Skien@wiu.edu

Krista began working at WIU in 1999 as a secretary in the Department of Social Work. In 2008, she earned her BA from the Board of Trustees degree program with a minor in information systems. She earned her MS in Instructional Design and Technology in 2011. Prior to coming to the honors college, Krista was an admissions supervisor in undergraduate admissions and then international admissions. In October 2018, she joined the Honors College as an academic honors advisor.

Krista grew up in Streator, IL. She came to Bushnell, IL in 1998 where she lives with her husband Mike, two children, Nick and Alayna, and at least one or two dogs. In her free time she loves to read and out-fish her husband.

Dr. James "Jim" Rabchuk, Quad Cities Honors Coordinator
Picture of Jim Rabchuk JA-Rabchuk@wiu.edu

Jim Rabchuk is a Professor of Physics and the Assistant Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences at the WIU QC campus. As the QC Honors Coordinator, he is primarily responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Honors College at the QC campus, including academic advising, recruiting, and organizing Honors College events.

Jim received his BS degree from Grinnell College, where he double-majored in Physics and the Russian Language. He taught Russian and Physics at Mt. Prospect High School in Mt. Prospect, IL for 3 years before going on to obtain his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was hired into the Physics department at WIU Macomb in 1996, where he taught until he transferred to the Quad Cities campus in 2014.

Jim has taught two different GH 299 seminars at Macomb and in the Quad Cities, “Seeing the Invisible,” which uses a variety of readings and experiments to focus on the interplay between reason and observation in science, and “Science and Public Policy,” which uses a variety of readings and outside speakers to explore the ways that public policy, technology, and science intersect. In addition, Jim has guided several physics students to complete an Honors Thesis on topics in the modeling of magnetic fields in materials, and the use of electric fields to trap atomic ions in free space.

Jim currently lives in Bettendorf, Iowa, with his wife Jennifer. They have three kids, plus two cats and one dog. His personal interests include tennis and singing, and he is always open to having deep discussions about faith and science.

Julie Schoonover, Office Manager
Picture of Julie Schoonover JA-Schoonover@wiu.edu

Julie Schoonover is from Colchester, Illinois and serves as the Office Manager for the Centennial Honors College.  She is a Western Illinois University graduate and has been employed at WIU for 19 years in various offices.  Julie is a member of the University's Civil Service Employees Council, which works to formulate policies relating to civil service employees.  She describes herself as a person who does not like to "sit still" and is "always ready for a shopping trip".  Julie enjoys outdoor water activities and watching motorsports, in particular motorcycle racing.

She likes helping others and has a heart for serving people.  She assists those in their golden years at Wesley Village as a home health care aid.  She also finds joy in cooking and preparing meals for others and hosting social events.  Julie has two adult children and enjoys spending time with her four month old granddaughter.  

Kim Sedgwick, Special Events Facilitator
Picture of Kim Sedgwick KJ-Sedgwick@wiu.edu

Kimberley Sedgwick, originally from Burr Ridge, Illinois, graduated with an Art Degree from Western Illinois University.  She fell in love with the Macomb area and all that WIU has to offer and decided to remain here as a member of this community.  She has held several graphic art and advertising positions throughout her career as well as a number of positions at Western Illinois University.  She enjoys illustrating with pen, ink, and pencil and portraying her world through photography.  She also has developed a greeting card business, using her original illustrations and favorite photographs.  As an avid environmentalist, Kim enjoys nature and its creatures immensely.  She loves hiking, bird watching, canoeing, creating natural respites, and taking in all that nature has to offer. 

Her passion for the environment extends beyond personal enjoyment to a roll of active involvement in local, state and national concerns.  She promotes wind and solar energy whenever possible.  She has worked to protect natural habitats for the Indiana Bat, a State and Federal Endangered Species, as well as protecting habitats for the many migratory birds that frequent this area.  She also brought to the forefront major water pollution issues by the coal industry in McDonough County.  In doing so, she has worked closely with the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club, Macomb’s Prairie Land Conservancy, Prairie Rivers Network, The Environmental Law and Policy Center of Chicago, and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

Being a friend to all creatures, Kim and a handful of people were instrumental in facilitating the construction of a much-needed safe and humane animal shelter facility in our community.  The hard fought battle took years of fundraising and debates with the county, but proved to be well worth the effort.  This same small group went on to establish the current Humane Society of McDonough County whose goals are to promote the welfare of all animals and educate the public in these matters.  Kim has personally worked to rectify local domestic animal abuse cases as well as bring attention to the protection and monitoring of entertainment animals that travel through the area.

Kim has had many devoted and loving animal soul friends throughout her life.  All were rescued from shelters or abandonment.  Her latest, a Border Collie mixed breed named “Laddy Winky Bear,” was deemed un-adoptable but turned out to be her beloved kindred spirit for over 15 years of his life.

Jessica Schaumberg, Student Worker
Picture of Jessica Schaumberg JM-Schaumberg@wiu.edu

Jessica Schaumberg is currently a sophomore Music Performance Major from Streator, Illinois. She also has minors in English and Spanish. In her time at WIU, she has performed with the Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, and Symphony Orchestra, as well as with the Macomb Community School of Music and the WIU Musical Theatre Department. She is also a two time finalist for the annual WIU Concerto Competition. During the summer, Jessica can be found playing in local flute choirs and helping out the Streator Township High School Marching Bulldogs as a band camp technician. Outside of music, she participates in the WIU Math Club, works part time at a nursing home in her hometown, and enjoys reading novels of all genres. Some of her favorite authors include Orson Scott Card, Edgar Allen Poe, J. K. Rowling, and Agatha Christie.