Penn State professor recognized for achievements in criminal justice

James M. Ruiz, associate professor of criminal justice at Penn State Harrisburg, recently received a regional award for outstanding accomplishments in teaching and significant contributions to criminal justice education.

Ruiz was recognized by the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Sciences with the Regional Fellow Award, one of four awards presented at the association’s annual meeting in Portsmouth, R.I.

“The Regional Fellow Award is an honor to receive because it is a sign of recognition from your peers of the work one has done in the field,” said Ruiz.

A faculty member at Penn State Harrisburg since 2000, Ruiz also teaches in the online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program offered by Penn State Harrisburg through Penn State World Campus. For more information about the program, visit http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/BachelorinCriminalJustice.shtml online.

Ruiz expressed how much he enjoys helping students, citing an Outstanding Mentor Award he received as extremely meaningful to him because it came from former students.

He said that his work in the online criminal justice program has given him the opportunity to conduct research with World Campus Criminal Justice students.

He referenced his work with World Campus student Thomas Burrell on a paper regarding the power of ecology officers vs. police officers which Burrell has presented numerous times; Ruiz added that he soon hopes to submit Burrell’s manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal for publication.

He also described working with World Campus student Frank Starko on a paper which won the 2009 Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Justice Educators Best Undergraduate Student Paper Award as a rare experience among online students.

Ruiz has led a storied and diverse career. He has been a police officer, author, treasurer, executive counselor, the past president­ of both the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Sciences and the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Justice Educators, and the recipient of the 2003 Penn State Harrisburg James H. Jordan Award for teaching excellence.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010