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Denise Sommers

Denise Sommers Anchor link to John Martin video Professor Sommers on utilizing service learning in the classroom

Meet Denise Sommers
Assistant Professor,
Human Services



  • B.S. in Individual Options (Human Growth & Development) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • M.S. in Rehabilitation from East Carolina University; Greenville, NC
  • EdD in Counseling from the University of Missouri at St. Louis; St Louis, MO


  • Learn everything you can about your program and the field, speak with your prospective professors, and take good care of yourself. My partner and I live in the country and rescue Brittany Spaniels. I enjoy gardening and working in the yard and weather watching.

Interesting facts:

  • When I was in my early 20s, I hitch-hiked around the U.S.

Learning philosophy:

  • Facilitate students’ learning of awareness, knowledge, and experience in supervision, management, administration and grant writing. Within the context of human services, teach students the science and art of critical thinking, collaboration, communication, empowerment, and leadership which will help them guide their future organizations and communities toward a more effective, compassionate, authentic, and supportive direction.

Research interests:

  • Using service learning as a way for students to apply theory to practice and use leadership qualities such as collaboration, critical thinking, empowerment, and communication.
  • Leadership in the LGBT community
  • The use of accommodations and other support services to facilitate retention of students with disabilities.

Major project underway:

  • 2nd Qualitative Research Symposium
  • Developing an honor society for HMS students
  • Above 3 areas of research

Listen to Professor Sommers talk about service learning:

Advice to prospective students:

  • Learn everything you can about your program and the field, speak with your prospective professors, and take good care of yourself.

Best thing about UIS:

  • The focus on teaching, scholarship, and service where consistent with this model allows me to work not only within the university and with students but also allows me to partner with the human service community.

Leadership lived


University of Illinois Springfield
One University Plaza
Springfield, Illinois 62703-5407



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