If active interaction with a seasoned criminal justice scholar was what students at Texas A&M International University were wishing to experience, criminal justice professor Dr. Dean Champion is offering them such an opportunity.
At Dr. Champion's undergraduate and graduate classes, students not only get to ask questions of one of the country's top criminal justice scholars, but also learn directly from the author of many of their textbooks.
A prolific author of 30 books on sociology and criminal justice and more than 40 academic articles, Champion has also incorporated a chapter with testimonials from 20 of his students working in local law enforcement agencies in his soon to be published book, Probation, Parole and Community Corrections (Prentice Hall, 2002).
"I asked them if they could write a brief summary of their careers and told them that if they did that, I would feature them in my new book," Champion said with a smile, "They loved the chance to do that."
Champion, who most recently taught at Minot State University in Minot, ND, says he moved to Laredo after a former Minot State University colleague who is now a faculty member at A&M International, told him about a teaching position at the University.
"At that point, I was interested in relocating, so I applied for the position," he said.
In his office and at home, Champion's fingers are constantly tapping on the keyboard, jotting down notes and summarizing stories in newspaper articles that could result in an idea for a new book.
A specialist in justice administration; corrections, parole and probation, research methods, policing and criminal justice, he is also busy planning for a trip to Seoul, Korea in October. There, he will be one of eight criminal justice scholars chosen world-wide to present papers at a Korean Institute of Criminology conference. His paper is titled, "The State of Probation in the United States."
Champion, who has volunteered extensively as an auxiliary deputy sheriff and jail guard while also engaging in armed criminal hunts in Knox County, Tenn., said he uses his rich work experience to deliver lectures that blend academics and the real world of criminal justice.
He said the high concentration in his graduate classes of students employed in local law enforcement agencies also make learning a mutual experience.
"In other universities that I have taught, almost all of the graduate students had no work experience. Most of the time, students at A&M International tend to be older and the graduate students are mostly people who have worked before," he said. "In a recent Administration of Justice class that I taught, we discussed problems in different work settings and students helped amplify the discussion."
Champion holds his Ph.D. in Sociology from Purdue University and both Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young University in Utah.
Besides Minot, he has also held faculty posts at Cal State University-Long Beach, Calif. and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
His most recent books include Police Misconduct in America: A Source Book, Criminal Courts: Structure, Process and Issues, The Juvenile Justice System: Delinquency, Processing and the Law (3rd edition), and Corrections in the United States: A Contemporary Perspective (3rd edition). His forthcoming books include Administration of Justice (2002) and Probation, Parole and Community Corrections (4th edition, 2002).
He has served as president of the Midwestern Criminal Justice Association; visiting scholar at the National Center for Juvenile Justice; editor for the Journal of Crime and Justice and editor for the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences/Anderson Publishing Company Monograph Series, Issues in Crime and Justice.
For further information on Champion, please contact the College of Arts and Humanities at 326-2460. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.