Alumna Named First Beto Scholar in 20 Years

Beto Scholar

Alumnus Dr. Bitna Kim is the first Beto Chair Scholar in Residence in 20 years and will spend the spring semester teaching, lecturing and conducting research.

Logos for STAFSDr. Bitna Kim, a 2008 Ph.D. graduate, returned to Sam Houston State University this spring as the first Beto Chair Scholar in Residence in the College in about 20 years. Dr. Kim will teach graduate students, provide lectures, and update research on a collaborative program between law enforcement and community corrections.

“It is my honor to come back,” said Dr. Kim, Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “Sam Houston’s College of Criminal Justice is one of the top programs in the country. I hope to cooperate on projects and work with the faculty and graduate students.”

The Beto Chair is one of the flagship programs at the College of Criminal Justice. Begun in 1981 and named in honor of Dr. George J. Beto, one of the founders of the College, the program has attracted more than 100 thought leaders in criminal justice from throughout the world. During the 1980s and 1990s, the program hosted top scholars on campus for a semester to interact with students and collaborate with faculty. Later, the program invited several prestigious scholars annually to present a lecture on their latest research.

“The Beto Chair Scholar allows more interaction with students and provides more lectures about their specialty areas,” said Dr. Jihong Solomon Zhao, Chairman of the Beto Chair Committee.

Dr. Kim is on sabbatical from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and will spend the entire spring semester at SHSU. She will teach a graduate level course in International and Comparative Criminology, where she will share her experiences working in South Korea as well as in Asian and European communities. “There are no boundaries now; there’s globalization,” Dr. Kim. “We are looking at what is working, what is not working and what we can learn from other systems.”

Dr. Kim will revisit the Law Enforcement and Community Corrections Partnership, a 2007 grant which provided a national resource center for collaborative efforts among law enforcement, parole, and probation officers. The center offered training and technical assistance, developed through the Project Spotlight program in Texas, to aid in reducing crime, increasing public confidence in the criminal justice system and promoting public safety by increasing offender accountability in the community.

Project Spotlight created partnerships in the Texas’ seven most populous counties among law enforcement, adult supervision and juvenile probation to provide intense supervision and enhanced services to adult and juvenile offenders living in high crime area. The features of the program included reduced caseloads, intensive supervision during non-traditional work hours, high visibility, enhanced education and social services, and increased public safety through offender accountability.

Dr. Kim also will deliver lectures on her work in the criminal justice field. She has published widely in peer-reviewed, criminal justice journals on such diverse topics as intervention and treatment programs in corrections, police-community corrections partnerships, intimate partner homicides, domestic violence and gender issues. Her articles have appeared in Crime and Delinquency; Journal of Criminal Justice; Trauma, Violence & Abuse; Police Quarterly; Policing; Federal Probation; Prison Journal; Criminal Justice Policy Review; Criminal Justice and Behavior; Social Science Journal; International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology; Journal of Applied Security Research; Violence and Victims; Feminist Criminology; and Journal of Criminal Justice Education.

Dr. Kim recently was elected to a three-year term as a Trustee-at-Large for the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) and served as chair of its Affirmative Action Committee, the Publication Committee, and the Michael C. Braswell/Anderson Publishing Outstanding Student Paper Committee. She also was a recipient of the ACJS Minority Mentorship Grant Award as well as the Emerging Scholar Award from the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Science.

Dr. Kim serves on the membership committee of International Section of the American Society of Criminology and editorial boards for the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice; Women and Criminal Justice; the Journal of Criminal Justice Education; Law, Justice and Health; and the International Journal of Humanity and Social Sciences. She also is a research consortium member for the Global Centre for Evidence-based Corrections and Sentencing.

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