EKU Online: Faculty
Dr. Kristie Blevins received her Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati. Her research interests include corrections, the occupational reactions of criminal justice employees, and crime prevention. She has teamed with local law enforcement agencies to study theft, robberies, and prostitution.
Her work can be found in the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, Criminal Justice Policy Review, and International Journal of Police Science and Management. She has also coauthored several book chapters and co-edited Taking Stock: The Status of Criminological Theory and Transformative Justice: Critical and Peacemaking Themes Influenced by Richard Quinney. She is a member of the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the Southern Criminal Justice Association.
Dr. Preston Elrod is a professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, where he teaches courses on juvenile justice, crime prevention and school safety. Among his published works are studies on citizens’ attitudes toward the death penalty, juvenile justice policy development, public attitudes toward electronic monitoring, and the effectiveness of interventions for juvenile probationers.
Dr. Elrod is the former co-director of a model school-based delinquency reduction program. He also worked in juvenile justice as a court intake officer and as the supervisor of a juvenile probation department. Additionally, he served as principal investigator providing program development and evaluation services to the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice and numerous delinquency prevention projects around the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Dr. Charles Fields is the editor of The Dialogue and the American Journal of Criminal Justice. He has authored and/or edited seven books and monographs, including Controversial Issues in Corrections and Modern Police Organizations.
He has been published in a number of journals, including The Prison Journal, Journal of Criminal Justice and Economic Business Review. In addition to researching comparative state laws, he takes graduate students to the Police College of Finland and the Finnish Prison Personnel Training Center, where he lectures twice a year. He is also involved in developing graduate student trips to Cuba and Moscow.
Dr. Kishonna L. Gray is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice. She completed her Ph.D. in Justice Studies at Arizona State University with a concentration in Media, Technology & Culture. Her dissertation focused on the intersecting oppressions experienced by women of color in Xbox Live, a virtual gaming community. She received her B.S. and M.S. from Eastern Kentucky University in Criminal Justice.
Her research and teaching interests incorporate an intersecting focus on marginalized identities (race, gender, class, sexuality, etc.) She has co-authored a book on justice and has published in a variety of outlets including Crime, Media, Culture; the Bulletin of Science; Technology & Society; Information, Communication & Society; and the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication.
Dr. Victor Kappeler is a Foundation Professor and Associate Dean of the School of Justice Studies. Dr. Kappeler is a three-time EKU graduate whose textbooks are commonly used by universities worldwide. He is recognized as a leading scholar in policing as well as media and the social construction of crime, among other related fields. Among many other honors, Dr. Kappeler received the 2006 Cabinet for Justice and Public Safety Award for Academic Excellence, the 2005 Outstanding Criminal Justice Alumnus Award from Sam Houston State University, where he earned his doctoral degree, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Criminology’s Division on Critical Criminology for “sustained and distinguished scholarship, teaching, and/or service in the field of critical criminology.”
Dr. Kappeler’s primary areas of academic interest include crime and political economy, social construction of crime, ideology and crime, crime and popular culture, and police deviance and corruption.
Dr. Pete Kraska is Professor and Graduate Program Director. He has distinguished himself as a leading scholar in the areas of criminal justice theory, criminal justice militarization, and research methods. He has published seven books including Criminal Justice and Criminology Research Methods, Theorizing Criminal Justice: Eight Essential Orientations, and Militarizing The American Criminal Justice System: The Changing Roles of the Armed Forces and Police. His research has been published in a number of leading journals, including Social Problems, Justice Quarterly and Policing and Society. His work has received national and international attention and been featured in media outlets such as The Economist, The New York Times, National Public Radio and Peter Jennings’s World News Tonight.
Research interests include making theoretical sense of the emergence of underground cage-fighting, the trend to criminalize risky and negligent behaviors as an adaptation to late-modern social conditions, and a continuation of study into the blurring distinction between criminal justice and the military in the wars on drugs and terrorism.
Dr. Betsy Matthews is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice. Her primary areas of focus are community corrections and correctional rehabilitation. She has published several articles and book chapters on both of these issues.
Dr. Matthews joined the EKU faculty in 1999 and received her Ph.D. in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati in 2003. She has a blend of practical and academic experience. She began her career as a child care worker in a residential treatment facility for behaviorally disordered adolescents before moving into an adult probation officer position in Greene County, Ohio. After earning her master’s degree, she accepted a position with the American Probation and Parole Association, serving as a research associate on federally funded grant projects.
Dr. Kevin I. Minor holds a B.S. degree in psychology and criminology from Indiana State University, an M.S. in correctional psychology from Emporia State University, and a Ph.D. in sociology/criminology from Western Michigan University. He worked at both a juvenile institution and adult penitentiary while completing his degrees. Dr. Minor has taught at EKU since 1992.
His areas of professional interest are institutional and community corrections, theories of crime and punishment, juvenile delinquency/justice, and evaluation and applied research. He has co-edited two books, co-authored two others and published approximately 50 journal articles and book chapters on topics pertaining to his professional interests, as well as contributed to numerous technical research reports dealing with corrections and juvenile justice topics. He has served as a consultant to several organizations and agencies, including the National Institute of Corrections, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
Dr. Gary Potter earned a Ph.D. in Community Systems Planning and Development with an emphasis in criminal justice from the Pennsylvania State University. He has authored eight books, including Drugs in Society, Criminal Organizations, Organized Crime and Controversies in White Collar Crime.
Dr. Potter has been published in several journals, including Crime, Law and Social Change, the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice and Criminal Justice Policy Review. Research areas include transnational organized crime, human trafficking and the sex industry, and drug trafficking by teenagers in rural Kentucky. .
Dr. Judah Schept, assistant professor, completed his Ph.D. in 2011 at Indiana University and is a scholar-activist whose community organizing informs his research and teaching. He recently completed his dissertation, an ethnographic study of carceral expansion and resistance. He is in the process of editing the dissertation into a book manuscript. His other work includes articles on Palestinian hip-hop and forthcoming work on radical criminology and decarceration.
His research and teaching interests include the prison industrial complex, social movements and resistance, ethnography, cultural criminology, transformative justice, and law and society. He recently co-organized a carceral studies conference at Indiana University and is excited to work with others to develop a radical and interdisciplinary carceral studies that interrogates—and tries to intervene in—the continued expansion of mass incarceration.
Dr. Irina R. Soderstrom is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice. She received her B.A. in Sociology/Pre-Law at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1987. She received her M.S. in Administration of Justice in 1990, and her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology/Statistics and Measurement in 1997 from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Her primary teaching interests include statistics, research methods and research seminar courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her focus is in program evaluation. She has conducted considerable evaluative research on parole programs, boot camps, correctional industries, teen courts and school safety
Dr. Tyler Wall is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice. He received his Ph.D. in Justice Studies, an interdisciplinary degree from Arizona State University. He has published his work in academic journals such as Theoretical Criminology, Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict, & World Order and Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.
His main research and theoretical interests focus on the cultural, political, and spatial dynamics of the relations between the state, violence, social control, power, and everyday life, especially in the context of the “war on terror.” His writing and research on these issues is a critical engagement with the cultural logics and representations of state crime and violence, the social construction of hierarchies of human value and worth, the intensification of surveillance, militarization, and securitization in everyday life, and the politics of space, place, and territory. He approaches these diverse yet integrated issues through qualitative research methods, theoretical engagement, and cultural critique attuned to race, class, and gender. Dr. Wall welcomes the opportunity to work with graduate students on their own research endeavors.
His most recent projects are about the cultural sensibilities surrounding state crimes and war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the transfer of military surveillance drones to domestic police departments in the U.S., and the role of visual politics and the “crime image” in shaping forms of life in late modern society.
Dr. James B. Wells, a Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, received his Ph.D. in Research, Measurement, and Statistics from Georgia State University. Dr. Wells is the director of the Center for Criminal Justice Education and Research (CCJER) in EKU’s College of Justice & Safety. The CCJER is responsible for providing education, training, consultation, research, program development and evaluation services for a broad range of private and public organizations at all levels of government. His main areas of interest are justice and safety agency related program evaluation research and the improvement of criminal justice training. Dr. Wells’ most recent area of research pertains to various issues surrounding the Prison Rape Legislation Act that was recently signed into law. He has presented and published papers in both criminal justice and education related areas and has authored computer assisted instruction software. His articles have appeared in Crime and Delinquency, the Journal of Juvenile Justice & Detention Services, Federal Probation, and the Journal of School Violence.
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