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Spohn joins ASU's department of Criminal Justice and Criminology

February 22, 2006

Arizona State University announced that it has named Cassia Spohn director of Graduate Programs for the department of Criminal Justice and Criminology in the College of Human Services at the West campus. Spohn is a leading expert in criminal justice policies and procedures and currently serves as department chair of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She begins her duties August 1.  

Dr. Spohn is an outstanding scholar and teacher who also has been a very successful academic administrator,” said John Hepburn, dean of the College of Human Services at ASU’s West campus. We are pleased that someone with her national reputation and administrative experience has agreed to join the department of Criminal Justice and Criminology and direct its graduate programs. Her leadership, experience, and energy will be a tremendous benefit as we expand and enrich the undergraduate and the graduate programs in the college.

As director of Graduate Programs, Spohn will administer all aspects of the current Master of Criminal Justice degree program, which is intended for individuals planning – or already pursuing – careers in criminal justice practice and policy, including both government and non-governmental crime prevention agencies. Spohn also will coordinate the department’s efforts to design other master’s degree programs and a new doctoral degree program leading to a Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Spohn has extensive experience in developing and implementing graduate programs and curricula. She previously served as UNO’s director of Graduate Studies for the university’s department of Criminal Justice and played a key role in the development of its doctoral program.   

“I am committed to innovative programs in higher education and diversity within the educational community, said Spohn. “It will be a wonderful opportunity to work with my colleagues and Dean Hepburn to develop new graduate programs that will meet the community’s needs and provide students with the highest quality education.”  

During the past 20 years, Spohn has received more than $1.8 million in funding from national, state and local agencies, and from private foundations. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Justice and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Spohn recently completed a study of charging and sentencing decisions under the federal sentencing guidelines. Currently she is the co-principal investigator on a study evaluating the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services’ Violent and High-Risk Offender Reentry Program. 

Considered a nationally recognized expert on sentencing practices and policies, Spohn was appointed to the Disparity Study Advisory Panel by the United States Sentencing Commission. In 2005, she was one of eight national experts selected to advise the Legal Defense and Education Fund of the NAACP on legal strategies for criminal justice reform. Currently, she serves as a member of the advisory board for the Vera Institute of Justice’s Prosectional and Racial Justice Project and is a member of the Minority Justice Task Force Implementation Committee for the State of Nebraska.

Spohn is the recipient of several awards for teaching and research. In 2004, the Western Society of Criminology awarded her the prestigious W.E.B. DuBois Award for her contributions to scholarship on crime and race/ethnicity. She received the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Award for Distinguished Research or Creative Activity in 1994 and in 1998 she was awarded the University of Nebraska Award for Outstanding Research or Creative Activity. Educated at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Spohn received her doctorate in political science in 1978; her master’s in political science in 1975; and her bachelor’s in journalism and political science in 1973.

"Dr. Spohn’s commitment to excellence in scholarship and teaching will be a great asset as she provides direction, leadership and oversight to the graduate programs in the department of Criminal Justice and Criminology," said Hepburn.