CBCS News

USF Department of Criminology Celebrates 40th Anniversary Honoring Alumni and Students

USF Department of Criminology Celebrates 40th Anniversary
Honoring Alumni and Students

Photo L to R: CBCS Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dr. Catherine Batsche; Professor and Vice Provost for Faculty & Program Development Dr. Dwayne Smith; Rocky D. Bull; and CBCS Dean Julianne Serovich

The USF Department of Criminology in the College of Behavioral & Community Sciences (CBCS) celebrated their 40th anniversary on September 14th at the USF Gibbons Alumni Center. Past and present department chairs, students, faculty and distinguished guests (including Rocky D. Bull) were on hand to celebrate the “first” of what is planned to be an annual “Wall of Fame” event to recognize distinguished alumni and outstanding criminology ambassadors.

Michael J. Leiber, Professor and Interim Chair of the Department introduced Dwayne Smith, Professor and Vice Provost for Faculty & Program Development – as well as a previous Department Chair – who served as emcee of the ceremony.

“As a part of today's celebration, we will recognize our inaugural group of distinguished alumni and outstanding criminology ambassadors who were selected from the ranks of our many bachelors, masters, and doctoral graduates,” said Dr. Smith. “These inductees have distinguished themselves by attaining high levels of professional accomplishment that reflect so well on the department.”

Although the name has changed several times over the years, many faculty members and thousands of students have contributed to the Department’s national and international recognition and achievements.  Supporting one of the largest undergraduate majors at USF and more than 100 graduate students at both the Masters and Doctoral level, the U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 America’s Best Graduate Schools ranked the USF Criminology program 22nd in the nation. In addition, the Chronicle of Higher Education lists the Department as one of the top 10 criminal justice and criminology PhD programs in the nation in terms of faculty productivity.

Wall of Fame Inductees, L to R: Rick Ramirez; Jennifer Peck; Kathryn Branch; Carl Hawkins; Lauren Shumate; Denise Boots; Jennifer Wareham; and Gail Reddick

Each of the honorees shared their views of the USF Criminology program, and all referenced the partnerships made during their time at USF and the many benefits they have received, both professionally and personally.

“I’m grateful for the meaningful long term personal relationships that have forged and sustained through time,” said Distinguished Alumnus Dr. Denise Paquette Boots, who received her B.A., M.A. and PhD in Criminology from USF and is now an Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Texas at Dallas. “These peers have supported me on both a professional and personal level and remind me of the valuable ties I have to USF and the Criminology Department. It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized with this award and to have the opportunity to see so many people who have influenced my life in such as positive way.”  

“One of the greatest experiences that came out of my time at USF was the mentoring I received from professors like Richard Dembo, John Cochran and Christine Sellers. They taught me how to be a researcher, a teacher and a scholar,” said Distinguished Alumnus Jennifer Wareham, now an Associate Professor at Wayne State University. “Their mentoring has continued and evolved over the years, and today I collaborate with them when I need advice on a theory or research idea.”

“My degree afforded me the opportunity to be employed by the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) and work in unison with various agencies and leaders such as Chief Castor with the Tampa Police Department, Sheriff Gee with the Hillsborough County Sherriff's Office, Robert Blount with Abe Brown Ministries and other key individuals working to improve the criminal justice system,” said Outstanding Criminology Ambassador Gail Reddick, who recently retired from the FDOC after 35 years of service. “The Master‘s in Criminal Justice Administration I received this year has enabled me to fulfill an individual goal of continuing my career as an instructor.”

“Many times I've used what I've learned from class conversations with Chiefs of Police,” said Distinguished Alumnus Rick Ramirez, a graduate of the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration. He currently serves as Special Agent in Charge of the FDLE Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center.  “The beauty of this program is that students are from all areas of the criminal justice system and consist of both sworn and non sworn individuals who are able to learn from one another’s experiences and make community connections along the way.”

The honorees also attributed the success of the program to the expertise of the faculty and the mentoring they provide to students.

“I came to USF thinking I would be a terminal master's student, but started doing some research with Drs. Heide and Leiber. I realized then that criminology and academia are where I wanted to be, so I applied to the PhD program at USF,” said Outstanding Criminology Ambassador Jennifer Peck, a second year doctoral student in the department.  Jennifer has already established a presence within the field by serving as Assistant Editor for the Journal of Crime and Justice and publishing in several journals in the areas of criminological theory as well as the role of race and ethnicity in the juvenile justice system. She also served this past academic year as the student representative on the search committee for the new Dean of the College of Behavioral & Community Sciences.

Criminology Professors who served as Chairs, L to R: Dwayne Smith; Michael Leiber; Bill Blount; Thomas Mieczkowski and Leonard Territo

As an undergraduate in 1972, Distinguished Alumnus Carl Hawkins found his career path through the help of classes offered by Drs. Bill Blount and Leonard Territo, both now Emeritus faculty.

“At that time I didn't know what I wanted to do,” said Dr. Hawkins. “ I took two classes that really impacted my life. The first was Dr. Leonard Territo's class in Police Administration. He was a former homicide detective at the Tampa Police Department and would bring the class alive with stories of his experiences. I also took Dr. Blount's class on victimless crimes that focused on substance abuse and alcohol treatment programs. Those classes laid the foundation for my career.”

Dr. Hawkins continues to be a part of the USF community, serving as an adjunct faculty member in the department.

“One of the awesome things about the USF program is the opportunity to get well rounded training," said Outstanding Criminology Ambassador Kathryn Branch, an Associate Professor and Internship Coordinator at the University of Tampa. “By the time I graduated, I had taught classes, worked on research with faculty and worked in local community agencies. One of the classes I teach at UT involves internships for the students, and my connections gained while at USF has helped greatly with those placements.” Dr. Branch was the first student at USF to complete all three degrees in Criminology.

An inductee unable to attend was Mr. Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Prior to serving in his present position in President Obama's administration, Gil Kerlikowske has a long and distinguished career in local law enforcement. USF acknowledged his extraordinary record with the awarding of an honorary doctorate degree during the university's 2010 Spring Commencement Ceremony.

In addition, Dr. Heng Choon (Oliver) Chan, Assistant Professor in Criminology at City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR and Dr. Tara Richards,  Assistant Professor at Appalachian State University were unable to attend. Congratulations to all honorees!

Dr. Smith concluded the ceremony with reflection on the Department now being middle-aged.

"The emerging social standard is that for many people, and for institutions, middle-age can be the best years of all. Let us make it so for the Criminology Department."

A video presentation of inductees will be available soon, and all inductee names will soon be enshrined on the Wall of Fame and prominently displayed in the Department’s main office.

View information on all inductees below. Click here for a pdf of the event program.

2012 Inductees

Distinguished Alumni

Denise Paquette Boots, PhD

Denise Paquette Boots received her B.A. (1995), M.A. (2001), and Ph.D. (2006) in Criminology from the University of South Florida and is currently an Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is a former juvenile residential counselor for adjudicated youth, Border Patrol Agent trainee, and Pre-Doctoral Fellow with the National Consortium on Violence Research. She previously served as Graduate Director and Associate Chair at UT Dallas. Her present research focuses around violence and public policy, with an emphasis on neuropsychological correlates of violence, life-course perspectives, mental health, child abuse, domestic violence, parricide, capital punishment, youth crime, and intersections of race, gender, and ethnicity.

In 2009, Dr. Boots was one of nine tenure-track professors across the University of Texas system chosen to receive the prestigious UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award for excellence in the classroom. Her professional service activities include serving as the Faculty Mentor to the Terry Scholars Program, on the Editorial Board of the journal Violence Against Women, as the inaugural president of the UT Dallas chapter of the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and as a consultant to various non-profit organizations and local and national media outlets on topics related to violence.


Carl W. Hawkins, Jr., PhD

Carl W. Hawkins, Jr. retired in 2009, as a Colonel from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office with nearly 35 years of progressive law enforcement experience. While at the sheriff’s office in 1996, Colonel Hawkins was awarded a Community Policing Fellowship to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. There he researched and helped develop the Small Town and Rural Community Policing Train-the-Trainer Program. From 2009-2010, he worked for the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) as a Senior Associate. In 2011, his consulting business was established.

Colonel Hawkins earned a Doctor of Public Administration degree and Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Nova Southeastern University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of South Florida. He is a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police at PERF, the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville, and the Delinquency Control Institute at the University of Southern California. Dr. Hawkins has 30 years of college/university teaching experience and published ten journal articles, eight book chapters, thirteen management studies, and two federal government reports. He is a frequent guest speaker throughout the United States on criminal justice issues and leadership development.


R. Gil Kerlikowske

R. Gil Kerlikowske has served as the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy since 2009.. As the Nation’s “Drug Czar,” Mr. Kerlikowske coordinates all aspects of Federal drug control programs and implementation of the President’s National Drug Control Strategy. Mr. Kerlikowske holds a B.A. and M.A. in criminal justice from the University of South Florida, and is a graduate of the National Executive Institute at the Federal Bureau of Investigations Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Mr. Kerlikowske brings nearly four decades of law enforcement and drug policy experience to the position, most recently serving 9 years as the Chief of Police for the Seattle Police Department. In his previous positions as deputy director for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, Mr. Kerlikowske strongly supported community oriented policing services, which promote partnerships and problem-solving techniques to address conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, drugs, and social disorder. Mr. Kerlikowske also served as police commissioner of Buffalo, New York, where his selection by the then-mayor became the first outside appointment in 30 years, and chief of police of two Florida cities, Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie, both of which received the Attorney General’s Crime Prevention Award. Mr. Kerlikowske also served in the U.S. Army Military Police. His awards include the Presidential Service Badge, the Dr. Nathan A. David’s Award for Public Service and the Seattle University Community Leader Award.


Rick Ramirez, MA

Rick Ramirez received his Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management from Warner Southern College and a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of South Florida. He is also a graduate of the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute, Senior Leadership Program, Class 14.

Mr. Ramirez began his career with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy Patrolman and investigator for the Special Investigations Unit. In 2000, he joined the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) where he served as a Special Agent for the Orlando regional office. In 2006, he was promoted to Special Agent Supervisor at the Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center, and in 2008, he was promoted to Assistant Special Agent In-Charge, Chief of Investigative Operations.

On September 29, 2011, FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey appointed Rick Ramirez as the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FDLE Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center and co-chair of the Regional Domestic Security Task Force (RDSTF) for Region 4. SAC Ramirez served as an active duty member for both the United States Navy and United States Army National Guard for over ten years. In 2011, he served as the President of the Tampa Bay Area Chief of Police Association and presently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and an Adjunct Faculty member at the Hillsborough Community College.


Jennifer Wareham, PhD

Jennifer Wareham is an Associate Professor at Wayne State University (WSU) in Detroit, MI. She earned several degrees in Criminology from USF, including a B.A. in 1998, M.A. in 2001, and Ph.D. in 2005. She also earned a Graduate Certificate from USF in Geographic Information Systems in 2003. Dr. Wareham teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on research methods, criminological theory, and juvenile justice. She has co-authored over 30 scholarly publications. Her research focuses primarily on understanding the causes and correlates of juvenile delinquency, with an emphasis on mental health and substance use problems.

In 2009, Dr. Wareham received two grants to conduct secondary data analyses, one from the National Institute of Justice and another from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. That same year, she was also awarded an internal grant by WSU to conduct a survey of Detroit residents about community problems, satisfaction with police, and social control mechanisms. While Dr. Wareham believes that she has been blessed with many professional achievements, she feels her most notable achievement is her nine-year-old daughter.


Outstanding Criminology Ambassadors

Kathryn A. Branch, PhD

Kathryn A. Branch is an Associate Professor and Internship Coordinator in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Tampa. She received her Ph.D. in Criminology from the University of South Florida. She is a member of the National Society of Experiential Education and a graduate of the Experiential Education Academy.

Her research focuses on forms of gendered violence including dating violence and sexual assault. She is a member of the Division of Women and Crime of the American Society of Criminology and the Victimology section of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. Her recent work can be found in Feminist Criminology, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, and Violence Against Women.

Dr. Branch is an active participant in community efforts to raise awareness about sexual assault and dating violence. She is a member of the Sexual Violence Task Force of Tampa Bay. She is involved with the Red Flag initiative at the University of Tampa and is currently an Editorial Board Member for the One Student Campaign.


Heng Choon (Oliver) Chan, PhD

Heng Choon (Oliver) Chan, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Criminology at City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR. He received his Ph.D. in Criminology from the University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA in May 2012. Oliver earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Bemidji State University in Minnesota and a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from Marymount University in Virginia. He was previously employed at the University of Hong Kong .When he was in the U.S., DR. Chan interned and was later employed by the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Case Review Units as one of its first two Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program analysts.

His research focuses on sexual homicide, offender profiling, sex offending, homicide, stalking behavior, and criminological issues related to the Asian population. Oliver has published and presented widely on these topics, especially in the area of sexual homicide. He is an Associate Editor of International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, and a reviewer for many scholarly journals.


Jennifer H. Peck, MA

Jennifer H. Peck, MA is a second year doctoral student in the Department of Criminology at the University of South Florida. She received both her B.A. in Criminal Justice and B.A. in Sociology at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She completed her M.A. in Criminology at the University of South Florida in May 2011. Jen Peck has been the Assistant Managing Editor for the Journal of Crime & Justice since 2010.

Jennifer is also a past officer and current member of the Criminology Graduate Student Organization (CGSO).Her research interests include criminological theory and the role of race and ethnicity in the juvenile justice system. Her recent research appears in Crime & Delinquency, Youth Violence & Juvenile Justice, & the Journal of Family Violence. Since coming to USF, she has presented her research at the American Society of Criminology (ASC), Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), and the Midwest Criminal Justice Association (MCJA) annual meetings.


Gail Reddick, MA

Ms. Reddick graduated from University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree and graduated from Florida State University’s Certified Public Manager Program. Ms. Reddick recently graduated in the Criminal Justice Master’s Program at the University of South Florida in 2012.

Ms. Reddick retired from the Florida Department of Corrections in 2012 after 35 years of service in various positions in Community Corrections. Ms. Reddick started as a Probation Officer and worked her way through the ranks to Deputy Circuit Administrator before being promoted to Circuit Administrator for the 3rd largest circuit in the State of Florida, Circuit 06. Ms. Reddick was the Circuit Administrator in Circuit 06 (Pinellas and Pasco Counties) for 9 years before returning to Circuit 13 (Hillsborough County) as the Circuit Administrator in 2004.

Ms. Reddick works with various criminal justice agencies to ensure public safety and the reintegration of offenders back into the community. She was instrumental in helping to establish a First Step Program for Hillsborough County.


Tara N. Richards, PhD

Tara N. Richards is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Government and Justice Studies at Appalachian State University. She also holds a Research Coordinator position in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy at the University of South Florida’s Louis de la Parte Mental Health Institute where she is involved in ongoing funded research on opioid abuse/treatment for Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. Dr. Richards earned her PhD in criminology from the University of South Florida in 2011.

Her major research interests include violence against women; mental health, substance abuse, and trauma/violence; and evaluation research. Currently, she is involved in an evaluation of the STARR training program for North Carolina’s office of federal probation and parole. Some of her most recent published work appears in Crime and Delinquency, Violence Against Women, and Journal of Interpersonal Violence. She is also the recipient of the 2011 American Society of Criminology Division of Women and Crime’s graduate scholar award.


Lauren A. Shumate

Lauren A. Shumate attended University of South Florida on a full athletic scholarship to join the USF Women’s Varsity Tennis team graduating magna cum laude in December of 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Minor in Political Science. During her undergraduate studies completed an internship at the Pinellas County Courthouse under the Honorable Judge Raymond Gross, conducting legal research and statutory analysis.

During her senior year, Ms. Shumate was selected for a Fulbright Scholarship to Serbia. While in Serbia, she lectured at the University of Nis, Faculty of Law on topics related to criminology and law. She is a member of Golden Key, Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board, and was selected for the 2012 USF Golden Bull Award. Ms. Shumate is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Political Science focusing on areas of comparative politics and international law.