Jim is a jack-of-all-trades in Illinois public affairs. He has been an Illinois legislator, statewide candidate, state agency director, senior aide to three Illinois governors, campaign manager for U.S. Senate and presidential candidates, professor, newspaper publisher and columnist.
Jim received his BA, MA and PhD degrees in political science, with minors in economics, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Whenever kicked out of government or politics, Jim has taken refuge as a senior fellow at the University’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs. He has also taught in the American politics field at the U. of I. in both Urbana and Chicago, Knox College and Northern Illinois University.
Jim has been a “foreign expert” (visiting professor) with the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University in Shanghai on three occasions. In China, Jim taught courses in American politics and public management. When in China, Jim gave invited lectures at major universities throughout China, including at Beijing, Nanjing, Suzhou and Northwestern (Xian) universities.
Jim is the author or co-author of eight books, including Illinois Politics (University of Illinois Press, 2010; under revision for a 3d edition, 2023) and Fixing Illinois (U. of I. Press, 2015). Jim recently completed a four-year term as member, then chair, of the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission.
Jim’s 400 newspaper columns and other writings can be seen at jimnowlan.net.