Often, the best way for someone to be involved with the subject they love most is to teach it to others. Dr. Ashley Blackburn of the University of Houston – Downtown discusses using her criminal justice degrees to teach the next generation about criminal justice.
What degree program did you study? What does your current position entail?
“I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice, a Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology and a doctorate in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University. I am currently an associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Houston — Downtown.”
“My position entails teaching undergraduate and graduate courses such as Prisons in America, Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice and Research Methods in Criminal Justice. I have co-authored/co-edited three books and 18 referred journal articles in addition to book chapters, encyclopedia entries and other academic publications. By service, I am referring to activities both inside and outside UHD. For example, inside UHD, I currently chair the departmental Curriculum Committee and co-chair the university Faculty Affairs Committee.”
Do you have any advice for people interested in pursuing a similar career?
“There are many misconceptions about college professors. Some think that we teach a few classes and that’s it. The truth is we work much more than 40 hours per week. Not only do we take educating our students seriously, we also work diligently to contribute to our university, our discipline and our community. We mentor students, develop and prepare for our courses, grade assignments and assessments, conduct research, publish in academic and other outlets, participate in annual meetings of our professional organizations and serve our university and community among other activities. Although the work is never-ending, it often does not seem like work to those who love it and who are proud to measure their lives in semesters.”
Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.