Business and Public Management Center
50 Sharpless Street
West Chester, PA 19383
Name: Kathy Koval
Position: Assistant Dean, Director of Business and Public Management Programs
Name: Cindy Cheyney
Position: Assistant Dean
Name: Laurie Christie
Position: Administrative Assistant to the Dean
Name: Danah Allen
Position: Communications and Impact Coordinator
Name: Paige Carey
What drew you to WCU originally? And how has WCU changed since?
"Before coming to West Chester, I was a program evaluator for Pennsylvania's Department of Corrections and Pennsylvania's Board of Probation and Parole. I took my staff into the state prisons and parole offices to interview inmates and offenders about correctional programming in order to determine what worked and what didn't work, and then made recommendations for programming changes. As a State employee, I was limited in the research projects I could engage in, so I decided to return to academia where I had more independence to pursue my research interests.
In the past four years, since I've been at WCU, the quantity of research being conducted has increased dramatically. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs continually promotes faculty and student research through events and initiatives like Research Day, SURI grants, and research workshops."
What makes CBPM at WCU standout compared to other business and public management programs across the country?
"West Chester has a great reputation in the PASSHE system. Not only are we stable in terms of our student population and enrollment, but I think we also have more resources available when it comes to faculty growth. Compared to criminal justice departments at other universities, ours has a good size of about ten full-time professors. We're not cut throat when it comes to publications, collaborations, or resources and things of that nature. This University is strong, which makes us feel more comfortable and confidant in what we're doing."
What is the most fulfilling part about working at WCU and/or for CBPM?
"I like working with students, because I can interact one-on-one with them. Here, the students have so many diverse interests and so many different things they want to pursue. It has been fun for me to think about other types of research questions and topics important to criminal justice and to explore these issues with students. Once the topic is identified, I can help them apply the various research methods to studying those issues."
What is the cutting edge in your field and how does your research extend it?
"We're all about crime prevention. We research criminogenic factors (elements that promote criminal behavior) such as associations with anti-social peers, substance abuse history, employment status, etc. Addressing these factors are what current evidence-based practices indicate keep people out of prison or reduce the likelihood for someone returning to prison.
Many of my current research projects center around the community of Ventanilla, Peru and the work Director Daniel Klopp is doing with Voices4Peru, an organization founded specifically to address issues of social injustice. Dan's organization provides education, personal development, and a safe haven in an otherwise oppressive area. The goal of the organization is to encourage community youth to interact with positive role models which, in turn, will minimize their chances of committing delinquent behavior and possibly serving prison time."
How has your research influenced your teaching? In what ways have you been able to bring the insights of your research to your courses?
"When I first started with Voices4Peru, I developed a questionnaire with the founder, Daniel Klopp, who translated it and submitted it to his people. He provided me the raw data, then I did the analysis. That was phase one of the research. In phase two, I was able to look at the research and the statistical analysis with my students in the classroom to show them how to do qualitative/quantitative research. I also run a study abroad program in Peru, where students conduct the research with me. They're involved with the interview process. I allow them to ask questions and to analyze the information for themselves. In my graduate class, I give examples of some past research studies to demonstrate how I want them to analyze data. It all comes full circle."
Does any particular moment standout as being your favorite since working at WCU?
"There are a lot of memorable moments. Getting to know the students and their families is great. I've been here for four years, so students who I worked with as freshman are getting ready to graduate now. Some of our other students have decided to go into the Master's program, so I've continued to work with them. I love staying in contact with the students after they leave as well. I sometimes get to know their families and it's really special. So, I guess the memorable moments for me is less about inside the classroom and more about seeing what they do once they move on."
What advice would you give to our incoming freshman?
"Get involved. Get involved in research opportunities, get involved in clubs, and get involved with activities. Volunteer. Do things outside of the classroom that are relevant to your field. So many experiences I had as an undergrad were based on me trying different things, and that helped me figure out what I wanted to do after I graduated. Take every opportunity to do something meaningful."
What advice would you give to our graduating seniors?
"There is hope. That's my message. It's a tough market, depending on the discipline. You'll find the job that you love. You might not get there immediately, but you have the skills, the training, and the know-how. Keep looking and keep trying to find your niche. Don't lose hope."
What is your guilty pleasure?
"You know how people have a sweet tooth? I have a whole mouth of them. I'd eat cake all day, if I could. But, I'm a runner, so I can't. I use running as a stress reliever. In about a month from now, I'll be doing a 25K, a race in the mountains. I really enjoy it and I don't think it's something students have any idea that I do."