Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Carole Garrison

Professor of Criminal Justice Carole Garrison, Ph.D. teaches applied ethics in Criminal Justice and Police Studies. She also teaches an international comparative research class in Police Women.

Why did you choose this field?

I chose this field for a variety of reasons, none of which were a direct route to teaching in Criminal Justice and Police Studies. My original fields of study were Soviet Government and Education. My career goal (in the 1960’s) was to be in the Foreign Service. I had orders in the Peace Corps to go to Afghanistan. But alas, love and marriage, baby carriage and the collapse of the Soviet Union put a temporary halt to any such adventures. Ten years later without the thighs to be a cocktail waitress or the math skills to be a bank teller, I joined the Atlanta Police Department—not an easy accomplishment for a woman in the early 1970’s. The federal government was funding college through its LEAA program for active duty police which was an added incentive to put up with the gender discrimination and harassment that accompanied being hired under the consent decrees of the civil rights era.

I actually studied Public Administration getting an MPA from Georgia State, and a Ph.D. from Ohio State in Public Administration with an emphasis on Prison Administration. I wanted to be a prison warden. But plans are just that. Instead of incarceration, I got a job at Kean College in Newark, NJ teaching Political Science, Public Administration and Criminal Justice. I hung out with the lifers at Rahway State Penitentiary, got radicalized by my NYC evening students and began to understand the connections between police-feminism-oppression-and corrections. Yes, there are connections.

My next job was in a graduate Public Administration program. I hated it. My heart was in Criminal Justice, with police, and finally with Women’s Studies. At the University of Akron I got to do it all! I ran a state/college basic training academy; developed new academy curriculum; developed courses in applied Criminal Justice ethics and became Director of Women’s Studies while continuing to teach in the Criminal Justice program. Trying to balance it all, I did my research on police women.

Fast forward to being appointed by DOD to the DACOWITS in 1990, an advisory committee on Women in the Military which led to a year with the United Nations peace-keeping mission where I helped run elections in Cambodia following the infamous Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge. Back to teaching stateside; but then I was smitten by the lure of the dark side of the planet. In late 1995, I accepted a position as executive director of the CCC - a network of International and local non-government agencies in Cambodia.

A government coup in 1998 motivated me to return to the states and the classroom. In 2000, I relocated from Ohio to Kentucky to take the position of Chair of EKU’s prestigious Criminal Justice and Police Studies department.

I retired in 2011 and currently teach online from my home in Ona, West Virginia.

What are the highlights of teaching?

The highlight of teaching is learning. I create viable learning communities where my students and I learn from each other, our shared experiences, knowledge and insights. I bring experience, education, and a love of teaching to my subject matter. Most importantly, my students come first.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

What spare time? Actually, I might have some if I wasn’t so busy. I am completing my memoir of my year with UNTAC (UN’s peace-keeping mission in Cambodia), I’m a docent at the Huntington Museum of Art, a mentor for entrepreneurs at Huntington’s business incubator, on the boards of WV Public Radio and Unlimited Futures, Inc. I give public lectures on “Funding Your Child’s College Education” and “Understanding PTSD in the Classroom.”

Published on November 12, 2013