University News

J.Q. Adams: 2011 DFL

February 4, 2011

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- J.Q. Adams, educational psychology professor in Western Illinois University's department of educational and interdisciplinary studies (EIS), will present the University's 2011 Distinguished Faculty Lecture on the U.S. Census and American identity.

Adams will deliver the lecture, "The U.S. Census: How Its Racial Categories Have Shaped American Identity," at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 31 in the College of Fine Arts and Communication Recital Hall, located in Simpkins Hall, on the WIU-Macomb campus. He will address the WIU-Quad Cities campus at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 7 in Room 102.

"I will examine the historical context of the U.S. Census and the role its racial categories have played in shaping the way Americans think of themselves. From the first census in 1790 to the most recent census in 2010, the repetition of some identity categories and the temporary inclusion of new ones reflect uncertainty about who is to be considered white, non-white or something in between," Adams explained.

Through his presentation, Adams will also consider the work of the early census architects, the secretaries of state, whose role was to insure the accuracy of the census as well as its completion.

"I will also bring forth the influence media, science, religion and, most importantly, economics had on the social construction of identity in the early Republic and address the dynamic shifts in immigration patterns that influence the changing face and changing census categories of America today," he added.

Adams joined Western's faculty in August 1988. Before coming to WIU, he served as director of Minority and Intercultural Affairs at Joliet (IL) Junior College, and at Illinois State, where he was the director of the College of Education's Urban Education Program. He also was the community coordinator and team leader for ISU's Teacher Corps Project.

At Western, Adams regularly teaches "Multicultural and Social Foundations of Education," a required course for education majors. Among the graduate courses he teaches are "Implications of Diversity for Educational Leaders" and "Social Change and the Multicultural Aspects of School, " courses he helped create and implement.

Shortly after being appointed a faculty associate in WIU's Office of Faculty Development (now the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research), Adams led a small group of faculty in the development and approval of a course in cultural diversity, "Group Diversity, CAS 210," which became a multicultural requirement in WIU's general education curriculum.

In the 1990s, Adams developed and taught "Dealing with Diversity," a 24-hour teleclass produced at Governors State University (GSU) and distributed through the PBS Adult Learning Service. The PBS Adult Learning Service also distributes the revised 2001 version of the course. Because of the success of the first two versions, a third has recently been produced and is currently being offered online through GSU.

Adams co-authored the grant, "Expanding Cultural Diversity in the Curriculum and in the Classroom," which the Illinois Board of Higher Education awarded Western annually for more than 10 years before adding the $50,000 to WIU's annual fiscal budget. Projects sponsored through the grant have included eight anthologies that Adams co-edited, more than 15 annual conferences he co-directed, and several video and DVD initiatives for which he served as researcher and on-screen instructor or interviewer. Adams' "Effective Strategies for Learning and Teaching about Diversity in the USA," a 10-hour course on DVD, offers an in-depth exploration and evaluation of the structure of society as it impacts schooling.

In addition, Adams co-directs Western's annual Dealing with Difference Institute, and he has led numerous cultural diversity workshops both on- and off-campus.

Adams received the 2009 G. Pritchy Smith Multicultural Educator Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME and the WIU Provost's 2009 Excellence in Multicultural Teaching Award. In 2008, the College of Education at Grand Valley State College (MI) recognized his accomplishments through its Distinguished Alumni Leadership In Education Award.

Adams earned his bachelor's degree in social studies and psychology from Grand Valley State College, his master's degree in alternative education and psychology from Indiana University and his doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Western Illinois first presented an annual lecturer award in 1969 to honor an outstanding faculty member whose professional development in research or creative activity, teaching and service to the University represent the highest standards of the academic community. In 1998, the award was renamed the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer.

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Relations