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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. David Lawson

David Lawson

Dr. David Lawson

            I am Faculty for the School of Justice Studies Regional Criminal Justice Program. My office is located at the Manchester Campus. I began teaching for EKU in 2014 and have students attend class from three different regional campuses and seven other sites through south east Kentucky. I am a three-time EKU graduate. I have earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice, a B.S. in Police Studies, and an M.S. in Adult and Juvenile Correctional Leadership all from EKU, a M.S.  in Criminal Justice Administration, and a PhD in Leadership; Criminal Justice Administration from the University of the Cumberlands. I prefer teaching courses that are sometimes considered taboo in the field of law enforcement, corrections, and society. I want to strongly look into criminal justice as it deals with offenders and society, as it seems that is often the last thought of students seeking careers in the discipline. It is difficult to choose a favorite course; however, I have enjoyed the Ethics of Policing and the field of Criminal Justice, Social Forces of Policing, Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Offenders, and what I see as the foundation of knowledge for our field that allows us to build a strong academic career, Introduction to Criminal Justice.

What do you like best about SJS at the Regional campuses?

            I like being able to deliver one-on-one Criminal Justice instruction with students who do not live on campus, yet see the value of continuing their education in a live classroom setting. In the competitive job market of today’s time, it is important that individuals find a way to separate themselves from others professionally. Education is a profound way to do this, and the Regional Campuses provide an invaluable service to those that cannot travel long distances for classes to still receive a beneficial and valuable “brick-and-mortar” degree from Eastern Kentucky University, more specifically a Program of Distinction such as Criminal Justice from EKU.

Why did you go into teaching?

            Growing up, as most children do, there were a few things that I “wanted to be”. As I matured, I saw common threads in each of them: law, law enforcement, and then learning. Throughout the years, as life evolved, I found myself in a position to not only to achieve my Bachelor’s degrees, but was prompted by my mentor to go further than I had previously imagined. I set my sights on completing my Master’s and then to purse a doctorate degree. The importance of a caring, informed, and available instruction was illustrated throughout my educational endeavors, which prompted me to want to follow their lead. I was very fortunate to have guidance from my family, and as well, from instructors of my own which I can now call “colleagues.”

What do you like most about teaching at the regional campuses?

            The Regional Campuses offer a unique opportunity for faculty and students to work closely together in smaller class sizes meeting the individualized educational needs of our students. With fewer students in each section, I am able to devote more time to specific theories or concepts that students may be having difficulty with. In larger classes, it is more difficult to do this because of the sheer size. At the Regional Campuses I feel like I can reach students in their comfort zone, a place where they have extended support from their family and friends.

How do you make a difference in our Regional campus students' lives?

            Personally, I feel that our greatest asset at the Regional Campuses is our ability to be available to our students in their community. The accessibility we have through technology and closer geographical distances provide the opportunity to work with students on a more individualized level. It truly is one of a kind education. When students have projects, papers, etc., that they may need guidance on, we are able to communicate through email, phone calls, or travel to their respective campus to aid them. The time saved by being closer to where the students are allows me to be more involved than may normally have been possible if we were separated by a greater span of miles as is with the online format.

Any advice to current EKU/SJS students?

            My personal advice to any current EKU/SJS students would be to follow your dreams, but in a realistic manner. I had to change my goals more than once because of different circumstances in life. Life happens; you can expect the unexpected. As such, we must be fluid in our goals, but determined at the same time. Don’t let your dreams define you… define your dreams.

Advice to prospective EKU/SJS Regional campuses students?

            With our Criminal Justice program, there are many paths you can take upon graduation. I would strongly advise prospected Regional Campus students to gather information regarding their professional goals and our programs. Learn all you can about what we have to offer and determine the best fit for your dreams, and then don’t give up in working toward them. Everyone has moments of doubt, what defines us is how we respond to them! 

Published on January 31, 2018

Published on March 01, 2015

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