So this month has been busy with lots of jail interviews, Alpha Phi Sigma events and teaching. So of course, I decided to add something else to my plate and mind you that it isn’t appetizer small. I decided to apply for an Endowed Teaching Chair at the college. What is an endowed chair??? A LOT OF WORK! But also a lot of fun…. I hope. Over the past few years, I have worked with numerous agencies, countless hours of community service and explored many facets of the criminal justice system. Two areas that really peaked my interest were those of cold case investigations and search and rescue events. In 2016, the sister of one of my students went missing and was, after a month found, having been murdered. Getting involved with the search honed my professional interest in becoming more hands on than following traditional academia and focusing solely on research and publication. I felt my education as well as that of my students could be enhanced by these experiential activities. Aside from teaching, my second passion is giving back through community service.
With this in mind, I decided to marry my two passions and submit a proposal to create a cold case institute at the college. I wanted to be different than the institutes that I was familiar with in that I wanted the students to work directly with the jurisdictional agency. I would provide the theoretical concepts and academic knowledge while bringing in local agencies that would go through cold cases with the students. Students would be allowed to review the case and how it was conducted, what evidence was obtained and see where and why the case had gone cold. Students and LEOs would work side by side to reexamine to case, consider new avenues to explore, revisit scenes and witnesses/victims/suspects. The thought of students learning what skills they will need upon graduation to work in various aspects of the cj field from the actual professionals who would consider hiring them was just amazing and an opportunity I could not pass up.
I want them to learn critical thinking skills, how to deal with diversity of culture, age, gender, socio-economics, and just as important to have compassion and empathy when appropriate. It sounds like a lot for someone to teach but I kept telling myself and others that I did not have the sole responsibility of this undertaking but instead was the one to organize it and make it happen. So, I submitted a proposal, crossed my fingers and waited to hear whether or not the college would make this newest dream come true and give the students something to go absolutely crazy for…..