Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs

Faculty and Staff

Courses will be taught by faculty and staff at the IIRA, with advanced degrees in Sociology, Economics, Geography/planning, Marketing, Business Administration, and Public Administration. Faculty and staff also have extensive on-the-ground experience working with communities and local practitioners. Faculty and staff have held many leadership positions in professional organizations and served on the boards of state and federal policy groups.

To ensure grounding in the latest community issues and approaches, practitioners and thought leaders in the field serve as adjunct faculty and lead presentations, discussions, and online modules.

Faculty Profiles

Christopher D. Merrett, Ph.D., IIRA Director, Professor of Geography, Graduate Program Coordinator

Adee Athiyaman, Ph.D. Professor of Marketing

Timothy Collins, Ph.D. Adjunct Professor of Rural Development

John Gruidl, Ph.D. Adjunct Professor of Applied Economics



Department Staff

Sandy Wittig
Deputy Director 

Janet Marlette
Public Information Associate