College Student Personnel program

Faculty & Staff

 Tracy Davis

Tracy Davis

Professor and Faculty Coordinator of the Part-Time Track
Ph.D., The University of Iowa
M.A., The University of Iowa
B.A., The University of Iowa

Tracy has worked professionally in the areas of gifted education, student activities, and Greek life. His research interests include social justice education, mindfulness and contemplative practices, sexual assault prevention, identity, and men's development. In 2011, he became the founding Director of the Center for the Study of Masculinities and Men’s Development.

Throughout his career, Tracy has been engaged in research, sharing what he learns with others, and promoting the growth and development of emerging professionals. His publications include empirical studies in refereed journals, book chapters, and four books/monographs -- Gender-Aware Practices: Intersectional Approaches to Applying Masculinities in Student Affairs (2018), Advancing Social Justice: Tools, Pedagogies, and Strategies to Transform Your Campus (2013), Masculinities in Higher Education: Theoretical and Practical Considerations (2011), and Developing Social Justice Allies (2004). He has served on the Executive Council for College Student Educators International (ACPA) and the ACPA Commission on Professional Preparation Directorate, and completed service as an ACPA Senior Scholar. Tracy frequently presents at professional conferences and consults with colleges and universities regarding men's development and social justice.

The student affairs and academic community have acknowledged his contributions as a scholar, teacher, and social justice advocate widely. Most importantly, he remains wildly unfinished.

Recent Publications:

  • Davis, T. & Moody, B. (2018). Practices for promoting mindful masculinities. In C. Catalano, R. Wagner, & T. Davis (Eds.), New Directions in Student Services: Gender-Aware Practices: Intersectional Approaches to Applying Masculinities in Student Affairs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Catalano, C., Wagner, R. & Davis, T. (in press). Gender-aware practices: Intersectional approaches to applying masculinities in student affairs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Davis, T. (2019). Afterward. In D. Tillapaugh & B. McGowan (Eds.), Men & Masculinities on Campus: Theoretical Foundations and Promising Practices for Supporting College Men's Development. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
  • Tillapaugh, D., Catalano, C., & Davis, T. (2019). Theoretical complexities of men & masculinities.  In D. Tillapaugh & B. McGowan (Eds.), Men & Masculinities on Campus: Theoretical Foundations and Promising Practices. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
  • Davis, T. & Klobassa, V. (2017). Honoring the face behind the mask: Interrogating masculine performatives as counter-hegemonic practice. In P. L. Eddy, K. Ward, & T. Khwaja (Eds.), Critical Approaches to Women and Gender in Higher Education.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Foste, Z. & Davis, T. (2017). Am I doing this right? A qualitative exploration of how college men make meaning of gendered expectations. Men and Masculinities, 20(1), .


Julie Brines

Julie Brines

Assistant Professor and Faculty Coordinator of the Full-Time Track

Ph.D. Illinois State University
M.S. Western Illinois University
M.S. Western Illinois University
B.A. Western Illinois University

Julie joined the WIU CSP faculty in the fall of 2021. She is an experienced practitioner, particularly in academic advising and assessment at Western Illinois University. She is the vice president of the University Professionals of Illinois and has extensive experience in working collaboratively with university administration and functional areas on campus. Her teaching at Western spans a decade, where she has taught undergraduate students in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration, undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, and graduate students in the College Student Personnel program.

Julie’s academic research interests include the retention and persistence of first-generation students, most specifically the relationship between faculty and students; the impact of COVID-19 on the socialization of students; and student leaders’ perceptions of their leadership positions as work versus leisure. She is a member of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE).


Jeff Hancks

Jeff Hancks


Ed.D. Northern Illinois University
M.A., M.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A. North Park University

Jeff joined the WIU faculty in 2005 as the inaugural Baxter-Snyder Professor of Regional Studies in the University Archives. He was responsible for maintaining the University's historical records and documenting the history and culture of the western Illinois region.  He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Scandinavian Studies, a master's in Library and Information Studies, and a doctorate in Adult and Higher Education.

From 2016-2019 Jeff served WIU as the Executive Director of the School of Global Education and Outreach where he led the University's international initiatives and administered WIU's third largest degree program, the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies. 

Jeff began teaching in the College Student Personnel program in 2020. A native Rock Islander, he has a special interest in growing the Higher Education Leadership track in the Quad Cities. His higher education interests include community colleges, finance, fundraising, and internationalization.


Amy Buwick

Adjunct Faculty- Director, University Counseling Center
M.S.Ed., Western illinois University
B.S. Northern Illinois University

Amy is a licensed professional counselor and a certified drug and alcohol counselor. She received her master's degree in counselor education from WIU and her bachelor's degree in psychology from Northern Illinois University. Buwick is currently the Director of the University Counseling Center. Amy has worked for the University since 1994.  During her time at the University she served as a counselor in the counseling center, partnered with Beu Health Center staff to develop the AOD Resource Center, and acted as the clinical supervisor for the University Counseling Center. As a counselor, Buwick developed the center's aggression management education program, as well as co-founded other support groups and programs and implemented the center's quality assurance program.


Holly Nikels

Chair, Department of Counselor Education and College Student Personnel
Ph.D., University of South Dakota
M.S., University of Nebraska at Kearney
B.Ed., University of Nebraska at Kearney

Dr. Nikels received her bachelor's degree in Human Development/Early Childhood Education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Her master's and specialist's degrees in Community Counseling were also awarded from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Dr. Nikels earned her doctorate in Counselor Education with an emphasis in Supervision of School Counseling Services from the University of South Dakota. Her professional counseling experiences include work in Employee Assistance Programs, In-patient mental health hospital facility, School Based therapist and School Counseling at the Elementary and High School levels. Additionally, she has worked in Student Affairs / Student Activities and Greek Life. She provides consultation services to local schools and agencies on a regular basis. Nikels has published extensively in academic journals, presented at numerous regional, state and national and international conferences and received grants totaling more than $500,000. Recently, she served as co-editor and author for the text, Handbook of Strengths Based Clinical Practices. Nikels is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Illinois and an Approved Clinical Supervisor.