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Master of Criminal Justice


MCJ Adjunct Faculty, St. Ambrose University

“I developed close bonds with the faculty when I was a student. They gave me good feedback and improved my writing and research skills immensely. I hope to guide my students in the same way. I have an open door policy.”

How to succeed

“Get to know the faculty. There’s a lot of knowledge and experience to take advantage of. Whether you want to go into policing or get your PhD, they can help you further your career.”

An alumnus with an undergraduate degree in forensic psychology and a Master of Criminal Justice degree, Nick Richardson is currently teaching Intro to Law Enforcement for the MCJ program. In addition to teaching class twice a week, Nick’s work has him collaborating with Chris Barnum, the department chair, on research projects that deal with the effect of underage drinking on future criminal behavior and virtual visitation on communication.

In his own words

What kind of research are you doing?

Currently, I am examining the impact of communicative impediments on interpersonal attachment and deviance. A growing number of prisons and jails are replacing contact visits with virtual visits. This new policy really piqued my interest. I’m very curious to see what kind of impact this policy will have on human relationships.

Where did you intern?

At the Scott County Jail. I did a host of things: classified inmates, worked with staff to develop rehabilitation programs, helped inmates with their resumes so they could find employment. That internship opened the door to other areas that you don’t necessarily cover in the classroom. You get real experience to learn what you like and don’t like.

How would you describe the St. Ambrose faculty?

I have had the opportunity to work with all the faculty members in the department. Each one has his or her own niche and is able to provide valuable insight into different areas in criminal justice.

What’s your teaching style?

The course is lecture-based, but I don’t like to just stand up there and speak for an hour. I get the students engaged in discussions. We do in-class activities. I give real-world examples so they can tie in the information we cover in the textbook with things that have actually happened.

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