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Criminology adds top scholars for 2013 academic year

Ron and Leslie Simon
December 10, 2012

University of Georgia distinguished sociology research professor Ronald Simons and Leslie Gordon Simons, a  professor and graduate coordinator in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia, will join the staff of the ASU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in August. Director Scott Decker made the announcement Dec. 7. 

"The addition of two scholars of this stature elevates the School to a new position, and gives us a platform to move ahead in securing the best doctoral students, enhancing our scholarship and being more competitive in the world of external funding," said Decker. "In addition, they each add a research and teaching focus unique from that currently offered in the school."

That sentiment is shared by faculty. 

"I am very excited to have Ron and Leslie join our School," said associate professor Marie Griffen. "Both Leslie and Ron add significantly to the School's ability to provide quality education and engage in cutting edge research. Their areas of research and teaching complement our faculty's strengths and extend our areas of expertise. Leslie and Ron's high national visibility and prominence will further elevate our national profile as one of the top criminology faculties in the country."  

Ron Simons' research focuses on five areas of specialization: how family, peers, community and incarceration affects criminal behavior and emotional stability; the causes and consequences of domestic violence; the effect discrimination and racial socialization have on physical and mental health; the role of genetics and social environments on physical and emotional well being; and how cognitive processes and social experiences affect the quality of romantic relationships. Simons will be a Foundation Professor with the School.

"Ron Simons has led the largest and most significant study of risk and resilience among African American children for well over a decade," Decker said. "His research has been funded by the most prestigious agencies in the U.S., including the National Institute of Mental Health, Centers for Disease Control and National Institute on Drug Abuse."

Ron has published extensively on the role of the family, racial socialization and delinquency. His most recent work examines the intersection of environment, genetics and crime. He is also known as a tireless mentor to doctoral students and young faculty.

Leslie Simons will be a professor at ASU. Her research focuses on violence toward women and children. Simons' work includes research on the predictors and consequences of various parenting behaviors.

"Leslie Simons examines the intergenerational transmission of problem behaviors," said Decker. "Her work has specified the relationship between parenting and developmental outcomes for adolescents such as delinquency, intimate partner violence and risky sex."

Leslie is a regular contributor to top journals including Criminology, Journal of Health and Social Behavior and Developmental Psychology. She has received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes on Mental Health. Leslie has been a strong advocate for doctoral students throughout her career, mentoring and training numerous students in that capacity, including ASU assistant professor Callie Burt who says Leslie and Ron Simons provided great guidance as well as space for individual growth and development.

"I am fantastically pleased that they are coming to ASU," said Burt. "They are incredibly talented scholars, who are not only gifted in their ability to ask important questions and address them in novel, advanced ways, but they also make the research process enjoyable – as it should be. They are excited about their research and seek not only to advance knowledge in important ways but also to address issues that can make improve people's lives."

Cody Telep will also be joining the ASU faculty in the fall as an assistant professor. Telep is a doctoral student specializing in policing policy at George Mason University and serves as a research assistant for their Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy.