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: Julie Ferris
Position: Administrative Assistant
What drew you to WCU originally? And how has WCU changed since?
"I completed my M.S. in Criminal Justice here at West Chester University back in 2009 and because of my firsthand experience, I knew that WCU had dedicated faculty who were committing to providing the best possible educational experience for their students. Years later, while finishing up my doctorate at Rutgers and getting ready to seek employment as a professor, I knew that WCU would be on the top of my list because of my own experiences here as a student. I suppose the rest is history, as they say.
Probably the biggest change that has occurred in my short time here would be the completion of the new Business and Public Management Center. Ruby Jones Hall will always have a place in my heart, but it is great to have all of the College of Business and Public Management under one roof. It's definitely an exciting time for our College!"
What makes CBPM at WCU standout compared to other business and public management programs across the country?
"I think that the faculty stands out. Many have spent years working in their respective fields and I think that having that sort of experience can be invaluable in the classroom. Faculty members here at WCU also seem to always be accessible and willing to work with students in support of student success, which I think is key, but this is not something that you find everywhere."
What is the most fulfilling part about working at WCU and/or for CBPM?
"At the end of the day, it's about our students. Getting to see them succeed both in their time here at WCU and out in the workforce is really gratifying. That is really what we're here to do, so that has been wonderful."
What is the cutting edge in your field and how does your research extend it?
"In recent years, there has been a shift in the paradigm of academic criminology and justice studies. For a very long time, the focus of criminology as a field was limited to issues of crime and urban communities, street crime, and the role of traditional criminal justice system entities like policing, the courts, and the correctional system. These are all still central to the study of crime, but we've become a bit less nearsighted as a field and that is where some of my research comes into play. A relatively new branch of criminology is green criminology, which deals with issues of animal cruelty, environmental crime, and the role that non-traditional criminal justice agencies and organizations play in addressing these types of offending. Much of my research has focused on the role that the media plays in shaping public perceptions and understanding of these types of offending behaviors. I am also currently writing what I think is a much needed book on environmental crime. The topic is an important one, but one that hasn't received as much attention as other forms of criminal behavior."
How has your research influenced your teaching? In what ways have you been able to bring the insights of your research to your courses?
"Before coming to WCU as a faculty member, I spent over a decade working as an environmental policy consultant with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which has greatly informed my research agenda as well as my courses. From a practical perspective, my EPA experience has been very helpful in teaching environmental crime classes and my research has been helpful in teaching graduate research classes and guiding graduate students in the process of completing the Pro-seminar capstone course for the degree. Since my research and experience are in a relatively new subfield of criminology, I hope that my classes give students a bit of a different perspective on issues of crime and justice or make them think about crime and deviant behavior a bit differently."
Does any particular moment standout as being your favorite since working at WCU?
"That is a good question. I really had to stop and think about this. I do not know that I could say I have one favorite moment, but there have been a lot of little favorite moments in my time as a faculty member here. When a student in class asks questions that indicates that they really "get it," or I'm meeting with a student to discuss a paper or research project and you can tell that they are really interested in their topic, those have been the best moments for me."
What advice would you give to our incoming first-year students?
"You are starting a very important chapter of your life. Work hard and have fun. And remember to reach out to professors or utilize some of the other resources on campus if you need help."
What advice would you give to our graduating seniors?
"You are going out into the world at a very unique and interesting time. Stay true to yourself, be kind to everyone, work hard, and come back and visit us sometime!"
What is your guilty pleasure?
"When I have free time, I like watching old sitcoms from the 1980s. The Golden Girls is my absolute favorite. Personality-wise, I'm basically Sophia Petrillo who is a character on the show."