How does SIUE support your professional growth or activity as a Teacher-Scholar?What is a unique aspect of your professional life that enhances your service to the academic or greater community?
"SIUE in general and the Department of Public Administration and Policy Analysis in particular, have provided me the opportunity to teach a variety of challenging courses in an applied professional degree program. Additionally, assistance with travel expenses to present papers at conferences has been a major area of support. Both of these university and department supported activities have been important to my development as a teacher-scholar. In fact, this is essential for a discipline rooted not only in aspects of traditional management, but also profoundly influenced by law and politics. As such, I continue to be intensely involved in governmental and community based non-profit organizations addressing real issues, which inform both my teaching and research. Specifically, in the area of police organizations, my work with the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri focusing on police misconduct is particularly relevant to my course in ethics and public law. Additionally, when presenting papers at conferences I interact frequently with other faculty and, practitioners from federal, state and local units of government. The sharing of ideas with academics and practitioners provides invaluable insights for both teaching and applied research. Further, as a member of the Board of Directors for the St. Louis Area Regional Response System (STARRS), I interact directly with public sector executives involved in police, fire, and emergency health care preparedness, which augment aspects of the Public Policy and Pro-seminar in Public Administration courses. Finally, and certainly not least, as director of the MPA Internship program, I interrelate monthly (sometimes daily) with city managers from both southern Illinois and Missouri in formal and informal meetings discussing actual problematic issues in the field of public administration. All of these activities—supported by SIUE helps shape and inform my teaching and scholarship, thereby symbiotically preparing pre-service and experienced professionals students for responsible administrative positions, while simultaneously expanding the knowledge base."
"My previous professional work experience and academic activity coalesce and improves the quality of my service to both the academy and the greater community served. Having acquired substantial pre-academic professional working experience in numerous positions of responsibility and authority such as police officer, litigation specialist, and government administrator, I am able to convey to students the reality of administrative life in complex—bureaucratic organizations. These types of experiences provide in part, the basis for rigorous--intellectually engaging discussions in both the classroom and in meetings with professional public administrators and the community at large. Concomitantly, this enables me to evaluate better, the efficacy of theoretical constructs in the contest of real life administrative problems frequently resulting in the revision of existing theory; but often facilitating the creation of new theories and hypothesis requiring further testing. This, I believe, helps me establish linkages between theory and practice wherein students gain new knowledge that is both more relevant and credible, and where the greater community gains an appreciation of how new knowledge generated by academic research helps address intractable societal problems."
How has one mentor or event shaped your career decision to become a university professor?
"One primary mentor of mine, Dr. Marilyn McShane, distinguished professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Houston, first suggested that I consider a career in higher education. This grew out of a presentation I made at a criminal justice policy conference just prior to my acceptance of the SIUE professoriate. Other academic mentors were also very instrumental in inspiring me to seek an academic career. Some of them include, Dr. James F. Gilsinan, Professor of Public Policy Studies and E. Desmond Lee, Professor in Collaborative Regional Education and Dr. Kenneth F. Warren, Professor of Political Science; both of Saint Louis University. Both of their suggestions were based in part, on my performance in classroom settings and in university based conferences. Yet, there were numerous events and people who contributed significantly to my decision to pursue academia as a professional endeavor. Most notably I became intrigued by and concerned with, problematic issues concerning criminal justice policy in the areas of policing, ethics, and law. I observed and experienced much of this while working as a police officer, a legal intern between semesters of law school at a state’s attorney office, and as a professional administrator for a large—federal agency. Indeed, after working in the public sector in these various capacities, I observed instances of administrative and professional incompetence; abuse of power, and pervasive--unethical behavior by some public servants, which negatively impacted citizens. It was during these times that I became convinced that as a university professor I could help generate new knowledge and shed new insight in some of these areas and help prepare a new generation of well trained—ethically sound professional public administrators."