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Nationally renowned criminologist named chair of ASU's department of Criminal Justice and Criminology


January 09, 2006

Arizona State University appointed Scott Decker to chair of the department of Criminal Justice and Criminology in the College of Human Services at the West campus. Decker is a Curator's Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. He will begin his duties as chair on July 1.

"Scott is an outstanding scholar and a tremendous addition to our department of Criminal Justice," said John Hepburn, dean of the College of Human Services at ASU's West campus. "His reputation and expertise will strengthen our department and enhance its level of recognition as a premier criminology program nationally, if not internationally."

Decker has been with UM-St. Louis since 1977, serving as department chair for 15 years. He has been a Curator's Professor for the past five years, receiving the distinguished honor for his outstanding reputation and contributions to the field of criminology. Decker received his Ph.D. and M.A. in Criminology from Florida State in 1976 and 1974, respectively, and his B.A. in Social Justice from DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind., in 1972.

"I am honored to have been chosen by Dean Hepburn to lead ASU's highly-regarded criminal justice and criminology department," said Decker. "With the assistance of outstanding faculty members, we will continue the department's mission of promoting research and academic excellence, teaching and service in the field of criminal justice and criminology."

The department Criminal Justice and Criminology at the West campus was ranked a top 10 program nationally by researchers at the University of Cincinnati, who measured the levels of faculty scholarship and research publications. The findings were recently reported in the Journal of Criminal Justice.

Decker has brought in $4 million in funded research from federal, state and other competitive programs. He served as co-principal investigator for various projects focusing on youth violence, and is project director of the St. Louis Homicide Project. The multi-faceted project included research, policy and community involvement components.

Gangs, juvenile justice, and criminal justice policy are Decker's main research interests. Currently, he is the research partner for Project Safe Neighborhoods in the eastern district of Missouri and the southern district of Illinois. Decker has authored 10 books concerning criminology including "Policing Gangs and Youth Violence," "Life in the Gang," "Responding to Gangs," "Controversies in Criminal Justice," Armed Robbers in Action," and his latest publication "European Street Gangs and Troublesome Youth." His book "Burglars on the Job" received the Society for the Study of Social Problems Crime and Delinquency Outstanding Scholarship award, and "Life in the Gang" received the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Outstanding Book Award in 1998.

"Scott's work is cutting edge," Hepburn said. "That research interest and focus makes him someone we really want to have at this university. He is a great asset for our criminal justice program."