Silver Circles: Michael Siciliano
Since 1966, the Silver Circle Award has been presented to some of UIC’s best teachers. Winners, who are honored at their college commencements, receive $500 and their names join a long list of distinguished colleagues. But what makes the award especially meaningful is its selection committee: the graduating seniors.
Silver Circles: 1
Years at UIC: 6
What does it mean to win this award from the graduating seniors?
It’s a huge honor for me. The students at UIC are amazing, and I learn so much from talking with them about their experiences, challenges and triumphs. They really inspire me and push me to look for new ways to improve my teaching.
What do you teach?
For undergrads, I teach a 200-level course entitled “Introduction to the Policy Process.” At the graduate level, I teach courses on policy analysis, collaborative management, social network analysis and advanced data analysis.
How do you engage students in your courses?
I use several techniques to create tangible pathways between the classroom material and the policy issues my students confront in their own lives. These range from short interactive exercises and blog posts to more in-depth case studies of current events.
What are your research interests?
My research is interested in how humans and organizations cooperate and form networks to address complex policy problems. I build statistical models to understand the factors that facilitate and constrain collaboration and examine the effect of network structure on individual and collective behavior. My work currently focuses on public school systems, local government service provision and emergency response operations.
What is your advice to graduating students?
To remain civically engaged. Use your passion, skills, and knowledge to make positive changes in your community. Find an issue you care about and chip away at it. Making a difference in your community doesn’t require tons of time or the perfect skillset, it just requires you to care, to show up, and to use your voice.