SHSU Adds Faculty in Criminal Justice, Homeland Security

Front of SHSU College of Criminal Justice.

The College of Criminal Justice will welcome five new faculty members in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology and the Department of Security Studies this fall.

Among the new faculty in Criminal Justice and Criminology are Drs. Brittany Hayes from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Melinda Tasca from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University, and Dr. Mary Breaux from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. The additions to the Department of Security Studies include Drs. Russell Lundberg of the Rand Corporation and Nathan Jones of the Baker Institute of Public Policy. The new faculty bring expertise in corrections, victim studies, homeland security and drug enforcement to the College’s offerings.

Interim Dean Dr. Phillip Lyons
Interim Dean Dr. Phillip Lyons
”Our incoming faculty are solid scholars whose expertise in their respective disciplines will enrich the learning experiences of our students and enhance the research portfolio of the college,” said Dr. Phillip Lyons, Interim Dean for the College of Criminal Justice.

The College of Criminal Justice has one of the oldest and largest programs in the country, with more than 40 faculty members who specialize in criminal justice, criminology, forensic science, and security studies. The College recently retooled its Department of Security Studies to offer a new Master of Science in Homeland Security Studies, which focuses on all facets of the discipline, including such areas as emergency management, national security and cybersecurity, as well at ethical and legal issues in both the public and private security sectors. The department also will offer two certificates in Emergency Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection.

“We are confident that the changes we’ve made to the curriculum and the certificate programs we’ve added will better equip our students to make our communities safer and better protect our assets,” Dr. Lyons said.

Along with revamping the curriculum, the College hired two new faculty to expand the reach of the program.

Dr. Russell Lundberg
Dr. Russell Lundberg
Dr. Lundberg was an assistant policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. He worked on projects on the links between crime and drugs, aviation and postal security, law enforcement intelligence, and corrections. Before joining RAND, Dr. Lundberg was with the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, where he contributed to several reports, including the Hurricane Katrina review that won an Award for Excellence from the President's Council for Integrity and Efficiency.

Inside the Houston Astrodome during Hurricane Katrina.
Inside the Houston Astrodome during Hurricane Katrina.Photo by Andrea Boohar, FEMA
In 2011-12, Dr. Lundberg was awarded the Harold Brown Fellowship from RAND's Center for Global Risk and Security, and he serves as the managing editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. He received his Ph.D. in policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, where he completed a dissertation related to the ranking of homeland security risks.

Dr. Nathan Jones
Dr. Nathan Jones
Dr. Jones is the Alfred C. Glassell III Postdoctoral Fellow in Drug Policy at the Baker Institute at Rice University, where his research focuses on drug violence in Mexico. Dr. Jones has published with numerous think tanks, including the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and InSight Crime. While teaching at the University of San Diego in 2011-2012, Jones worked closely with the school’s Trans-Border Institute on grant proposals and research projects. He has been a trusted source on issues of violence in Mexico with media outlets such as the Houston Chronicle, Texas Public Radio, the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and KPBS San Diego radio and television.

A DEA drug bust in Houston.
A DEA drug bust in Houston.
Dr. Jones received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine, where he won the Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation Dissertation Fellowship to conduct fieldwork in Mexico. He spent a year in Tijuana and Mexico City assessing the resilience and illicit network structure of the Tijuana cartel. He also was a leader in an international relations graduate student group and received a Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies affiliate/research award and the James Danziger Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dr. Gaylene Armstrong
Dr. Gaylene Armstrong
The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology also will add three new faculty members.

“The rising interest in criminal justice and criminology by students at SHSU in addition to requests for research partnerships from state and local agencies has demanded our Department's growth,” said Dr. Gaylene Armstrong, Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. “We have been fortunate to receive support from our administration enabling the addition of these highly skilled individuals to our already strong faculty. It is a win-win for our students and criminal justice agencies that serve our communities.”

Dr. Brittany Hayes
Dr. Brittany Hayes
Dr. Hayes was an adjunct professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, where she led courses in gender, crime and justice, and data analysis. A graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Dr. Hayes served as a research assistant with the Extremist Crime Database, where she analyzed financial crimes committed by extremists, and on domestic violence-related issues, which examined honor killings. Dr. Hayes also served as an intern for Women Aware, Inc., a N.J. based agency which provides domestic violence resources for men, women and children, including emergency shelter, legal advocacy, support and children’s therapy.

Dr. Hayes has published articles in such peer-reviewed journals as American Sociological Review, Journal of Family Violence and SAGE Open. Here dissertation was titled “The process of separation for victims of intimate partner violence: Evaluating risk of indirect and physical abuse relating to interpersonal events.”

Dr. Melissa Tasco
Dr. Melissa Tasca
Dr. Tasca specializes in the consequences of incarceration for prisoners, children and families, correctional policy, inmate adjustment and the intersection of race and gender within these contexts. Her work has been published in such peer reviewed journals as Criminal Justice and Behavior, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Violence Against Women, and Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice.

Dr. Tasca has worked on several research projects examining the needs of children with incarcerated parents and minorities in the juvenile justice system. Her dissertation, entitled “It’s not all cupcakes and lollipops: An investigation of the predictors and effects of prison visitation for children during maternal and paternal incarceration,” was funded by the National Institute of Justice Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

Dr. Tasca also served on a prisoner reentry work group and as a mentor with the WINGS Program at Florence Crittenton, an Arizona agency for at-risk girls struggling with issues and challenges caused by poverty, abuse, neglect, crime and violence.

Dr. Mary Breaux
Dr. Mary Breaux
Dr. Breaux has worked in the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services for nearly 20 years, both in child and adult protective services. Before joining the faculty, she was the Regional Community Relations Specialist for Adult Protective Services (APS), educating the community and agencies about the services available and fostering community and agency partnerships for research in the field.

Additionally, she collaborated with local colleges and universities and placed students in protective services internships. She continues to serve as Associate Director of Education with the Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment Institute (TEAM Institute) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Community Partnership Resource Rooms are collaborative efforts to aid senior victims of abuse and neglect.
Community Partnership Resource Rooms are collaborative efforts to aid senior victims of abuse and neglect.
Dr. Breaux has worked at nearly each level of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, including as a child sexual abuse investigator, as a training instructor and in Human Resources hiring new recruits. She received her Ph.D. from Prairie View A & M University, with her dissertation focusing on investigating child emotional abuse and the response by public school educators. She will teach graduate and undergraduate classes in victim studies.

Member of The Texas State University System