Changing of the Guard at the College of Criminal Justice

Dr. Dr. Vincent Webb

After serving as Dean of the College of Criminal Justice and Director of the Criminal Justice Center for eight years, Dr. Vincent J. Webb is stepping down to become a full-time faculty member. Dr. Phillip Lyons, a longtime professor at the College, will serve as Interim Dean during a nationwide search for a successor.

“It has been a real privilege to serve as Dean and Director since coming to Sam in 2006,” said Dr. Webb. “This faculty and staff have been great to work with -- they simply are the best! The criminal justice/center faculty, staff, and alumni can take pride in all that they have accomplished and they can look forward to a very bright future.”

Dr. Phillip Lyons speaks at the Sundial Ceremony.Dr. Phillip Lyons (r) speaks at the Sundial Ceremony.Dr. Lyons joined the faculty of Sam Houston State University in 1995 and has served in several leadership positions at the College, most recently as Chair of the Depart- ment of Security Studies and as Director of Professional Justice Studies, which links professionals in the field with educational opportunities offered at the College. He also served as Executive Director for the Center for Policing Innovation, one of 17 Community Policing Institutes nationwide that provides training and technical assistance on a variety of community policing and other timely law enforcement topics to state, local and tribal agencies.

In 2012, Dr. Lyons received the first Academic Community Engagement Award at SHSU
In 2012, Dr Lyons received the first Academic Community Engagement Award at SHSU.
Before attending graduate school, Dr. Lyons spent several years as a law enforcement officer for the Hillcrest Village Marshal’s Office, the Alvin Community College Police Department, and the Alvin Police Department, from which he won Outstanding Officer and Professionalism awards. When he left full-time law enforcement, he was a detective specializing in crimes involving children. His areas of expertise include forensic psychology, policing, law and psychology, and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues in criminal justice. Dr. Lyons has written or coauthored dozens of scholarly and professional works, including books, book chapters, and journal articles.

In 2012, Dr. Lyons was named the first recipient of the David Payne Academic Community Engagement Award at SHSU, which recognizes excellence in community engagement through teaching, research and service.

“For my nearly 20 years here at Sam Houston, I’ve actively participated in our efforts toward advancing our research, teaching, and service endeavors at the Criminal Justice Center,” said Dr. Lyons. “Now, I’m really excited to have the opportunity to play an even bigger part in helping the wonderful people here do great things.”

Dr. Vincent Webb with a student the Sammy awards
Dr. Vincent Webb with a student the Sammy awards.
During his tenure, Dr. Webb ushered in many new changes and initiatives at one of the oldest and larger criminal justice programs in the country. To demonstrate the extensive specialties available in the criminal justice field, he created three distinct departments to guide students in their chosen fields, including Criminal Justice and Criminology, Forensic Science and Security Studies. He also recruited new faculty in diverse areas of research, including emerging disciplines in biosocial, victimology, homeland security, and forensic science.

Since 2006, Dr. Webb has led the College, one of the largest academic programs in criminal justice in the country with more than 40 faculty members, as well as the George J. Beto Criminal Justice Center, a highly integrated facility which incorporates a number of research and professional training institutes, including the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Training Institute of Texas, the Correctional Management Institute of Texas and the Crime Victims’ Institute, to name a few.

Dr. Webb poses with an international delegation at LEMIT.
Dr. Webb poses with an international delegation at LEMIT.
Dr. Webb also was successful at establishing new institutes in the field, including the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility, one of only six “body farms” in the world for forensic anthropology research and an independent crime lab to assist jurisdictions in the area with toxicology and illegal substance testing. He also oversaw High Incident Drug Area (HIDTA) program for the Office of National Drug Control Polices as well as Project Safe Neighborhoods funding for police Department. Finally, he administered Impaired Driving Initiatives, a Department of Transportation funded program to get drunk and drugged drivers off the road by training law enforcement, school officials, employers and probation and parole officers to recognize the signs of impairment.

Here are some other programs established under Dr. Webb:

    Dr. Webb congratulates students from ZPC Dr. Webb congratulates students from ZPC.
  • Initiated the Ph.D. in Forensic Science and Masters’ degrees in Security Studies, Forensic Science and Victim Services Management.
  • Started online degree programs at the College, including bachelor degrees in Criminal Justice and Masters in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management
  • Introduced the Criminal Justice Career Fair
  • Established dual degree program with Zhejiang Police College in China*
  • Won Outstanding Book Award from Academy of Criminal Justice Science for co-authoring Policing Gangs in America
  • Implemented programs to train and educate law enforcement and corrections officials from other countries.
  • Began the Major Cities Research Initiative, which targets research and development programs to control crime in the state’s six largest cities.

As a full-time faculty member, Dr. Webb will be working on a wide variety of projects, including research and program development for the College’s institutes and centers.

*Sam Houston State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, master and Ph.D. degrees. Zhejiang Police College is not accredited by SACS Commission on Colleges and the accreditation of Sam Houston State University does not extend to or include Zhejiang Police College or its students. Further, although Sam Houston State University agrees to accept certain course work from Zhejiang Police College to be applied toward an award from Sam Houston State University, that course work may not be accepted by other colleges or universities in transfer, even if it appears on a transcript from Sam Houston State University. The decision to accept course work in transfer from any institution is made by the institution considering the acceptance of credits or course work.

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