Kathleen J. Block
School of Criminal Justice
director, B.S. in Criminal Justice program
M.S., Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park
B.A., University of Wisconsin, Madison
Indirectly, my high-school social studies teacher, Mr. Dunwiddie, sparked my interest in criminology. Given the assignment to write a term paper on a social issue, I chose the topic, "The Use of Psychology in Today's Prisons." As this was before the advent of state agency Web sites, I wrote to the director of Wisconsin's prison system, who replied with an informative letter and a few articles on prison psychology. While I don't recall the grade I earned on the paper, I remember being captured by the topic of crime and how society deals with it.
I pursued the subject through my undergraduate and graduate studies, then into university teaching. I chose a career at the University of Baltimore because of its urban location and student body, because it emphasizes quality teaching above all and because it encourages its faculty to become engaged in applied research and community service.
At UB, I have been able to direct my interests to research areas as seemingly disparate as juvenile justice history, juvenile crime patterns, women's homicides, prison visitation programs and transitional programs for prisoners returning to the community. Students have participated in the research projects and discussed them in the classroom. The projects have invigorated courses and nurtured my professional curiosity. At the same time, they have allowed me to contribute to community programs that address the social issues that originally piqued my interest.