Centennial Honors College

Honors Staff

Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 12:00 pm
1:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Centennial Honors College
Leslie F. Malpass Library, 2nd Floor
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455

Quad Cities Advising
Building A, Room 1211
3300 River Drive
Moline, IL 61265

To schedule an appointment call the office:
Phone: (309) 298-2228
General Inquires: Honors@wiu.edu
Macomb Students (Last Name A - M): Molly Homer
Macomb Students (Last Name N - Z): Krista Skien
Quad Cities: Jim Rabchuk
Pre-Honors: Alex Geisler
Honors Convocation: Julie Schoonover

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.

Alex Geisler, Assistant to the Dean
Picture of Alex Geisler AN-Geisler@wiu.edu

Alex Geisler serves as the Assistant to the Dean for the Centennial Honors College. Within her role, Alex is responsible for the overall coordination of the Pre-Honors Program and serves as the primary Pre-Honors advisor.  She also plans and implements Undergraduate Research Day and the Pre-Med Symposium.  Additionally, she facilitates the application and selection processes for all Honors College scholarships and represents the Honors College on campus wide committees such as Homecoming Committee and University Marketing Committee.

Alex received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Western Illinois University in 2009 and followed with her Master of Science in College Student Personnel in 2011, also from Western. She earned her Certificate in Fundraising Management from IUPUI in 2013. While at WIU, she held graduate assistantships in Undergraduate Admissions and Greek Life. After graduation, she worked in Greek Life and Housing and Residence Life at Illinois Wesleyan University. Alex began her development experience while working as the Director of Development at Wesley Village, in Macomb. Most recently, she served as the President & CEO of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce. She continues to advise the alma mater chapter of her sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma, at Western.

Alex resides in Macomb with her husband, Jerad, and their three children (and dog, Sophie). In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, running and crafting.

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 became the Honors Advisor at WIU, and she advises honors students on how to meet their honors requirements. In October of 2014 Dr. Homer was nominated by a student and selected as Western Illinois University's Academic Advisor of the Month.

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.

Lorii Smith, Graduate Assistant
william LA-Smith5@wiu.edu

Lorii Smith is from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and is a Graduate Assistant in the Honors College. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in the  College Student Personnel program and she has a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of Calgary. 

During her time in graduate school at WIU, she has had many opportunities to learn about the students and culture at WIU. She has lived in a sorority house as a house mom, served on the student judicial board, served on the advisory board for the LGBT*QA Resource Center, held a practicum in the Women's Center, and is a teaching assistant for graduate level courses.

She loves seeing students she knows across campus, and prides herself in being able to have dialogue with virtually anyone about anything. If you see her around, don't be shy about saying hi!

Lauren Hoover, Graduate Practicum Student
lauren LE-Hoover@wiu.edu

Lauren is originally from Charleston, Illinois and earned her Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in Psychology from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (I-L-L!). While at University of Illinois she was involved in several things on campus including working at the International Programs office, as well as being a student alumni ambassador, volunteering at the admissions office, and interning for their First Year Experience program. These experiences led her to Western Illinois where she will be studying College Student Personnel and work as a graduate assistant at the Women’s Center. Lauren loves all things Harry Potter, iced coffee, and dogs!


Ben Minogue, Graduate Practicum Student
ben BD-Minogue@wiu.edu

Ben Minogue is a Wisconsin native who is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel at WIU. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a Bachelor of Science in Cultural Geography. Ben works as a Practicum Student in the Centennial Honors College and is working to implement assessment methods and best practices to the Honors College's programs.  

Additionally, Ben works as an Assistant Complex Director for University Housing and Dining Services in Thompson Hall. His interests include hiking, jogging (slowly), sitting in saunas, and making pasta. When Ben finishes a day of meeting with students, going to class, and working with various UHDS committees, he enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons or watching stand-up comedy.

Randy Turkington, Student Assistant
randyimg RC-Turkington@wiu.edu

Randolph “Randy” Turkington joined the Centennial Honors College staff on January 17, 2017 as a student worker. He is responsible for assisting the Honors College with day to day activities such as setting up appointments for honors students with their honors advisor. Randy is currently majoring in Psychology and will receive his Bachelor’s degree in May 2019.

Randy was born in Malaysia. As a result, he can fluently speak 5 languages. Moving to the United States two years ago after completing high school in Malaysia, Randy has been adapting to all the changes in his environment. One of which is the drastic weather change from daily 100 degree temperatures to Illinois’ ever changing indecisive weather cycle. This means that you probably will not see Randy out and about much in the winter.

 Justin Brown, Student Assistant
Picture of Justin Brown JA-Brown12@wiu.edu

Justin Brown is a junior majoring in Political Science, with an emphasis on Public Administration  and Public Policy. Justin is from Rantoul, Illinois.  He joined the Centennial Honors College  in September of 2018 as a student worker. Outside of the Honors College Justin also serves as Vice President of Finance for University Union Board, the Student Member to the Board of Trustees, and is a member of Pi Kappa Phi. Justin plans to plans to get a masters in student affairs and hopes to work for WIU one day.



Willard Gatlin, Student Assistant
Picture of Willard Gatlin WC-Gatlin@wiu.edu

Willard “W.C.” Gatlin joined the Centennial Honors College staff in August of 2018 as a student worker.  His duties include but are not limited to, assisting in the day to day operational activities, such as setting student appointments and answering phones.  Willard is currently majoring in History Education and will receive his Bachelor’s degree in May 2020.

Willard was born in Galesburg, Illinois and graduated from Galesburg High school.  He is a “Non-Traditional” student seeking a second bachelor’s with a teaching license.  Willard plans to be a high school History teacher and wrestling coach. Physical fitness is very important to Willard so you might see him working out in the weight room.     

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