Applause All Around

Seth Fallik, Assistant Professor, and Mara Schiff, Associate Professor, were awarded two of the three 2019 Presidential Awards – Fallik for Research/Scholarship and Schiff for Teaching. Schiff was also the runner-up for the third category of Engaged Service.

Congratulations, Seth and Mara!

MSCCJ Brown Bag Event: Career Development

On April 11, 2019, the Criminology and Criminal Justice Graduate Committee hosted its second Brown Bag event for students seeking their Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice (MSCCJ) degree. This event focused on career development and featured presentations from Samantha Yorke, Associate Director of FAU Career Development Services, and Deputy Chief Shawn Backer from the Coral Springs Police Department. Both did an excellent job informing students of career opportunities and services available to them throughout their student journey at FAU.

MSCCJ students, be on the lookout for the next Brown Bag event invite coming soon!

Explore FAU 2018 – College Expedition

More than 100 prospective students and family members visited the College for Design and Social Inquiry during the “College Expedition” portion of Explore FAU 2018.  It was a great opportunity for Owl hopefuls to visit the colleges and departments they’re most interested in and speak with faculty and existing students about what it would be like to be a student in their respective degree programs.

Congratulations, Class of 2019!

On Thursday, May 2, 2019, 289 bachelor students, 139 masters students and 9 doctoral students – including the inaugural cohort of the first Doctor of Social Work program (DSW) in the state of Florida – accepted their diplomas from the College for Design and Social Inquiry at Florida Atlantic University. To all of our graduates, it has been our pleasure to have you in our classrooms and to watch you grow and learn in your programs.

Whether you are continuing your education or ready to apply your knowledge in the world, we look forward to watching your next chapter unfold. Remember that we are here for you and rooting for your success each step along the way.

As you move forward into your future, remember the words of Dr. Manny Gonzalez, DSW Program Coordinator and Associate Professor in the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work, “Know what you know, know what you don’t know, but know what you know well.”

Be well and best wishes!

  • 28 Bachelor of Architecture
  • 121 Bachelor of Arts
  • 21 Bachelor of General Studies
  • 10 Bachelor of Public Management
  • 18 Bachelor of Public Safety Administration
  • 62 Bachelor of Social Work
  • 18 Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning
  • 11 Bachelor of Urban Design
  • 2 Master of Nonprofit Management
  • 5 Master of Public Administration
  • 1 Master of Science
  • 127 Master of Social Work
  • 4 Master of Urban and Regional Planning
  • 2 Doctor of Philosophy
  • 7 Doctor of Social Work

Want to explore the degree programs in the College for Design and Social Inquiry at FAU? Call our Academic Advising Team today: (561) 297-2316

Spring 2019 Commencement Gallery


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Gangs and Spirituality: Global Perspectives


Ross Deuchar, Ph.D., affiliate professor in FAU’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and 2016/2017 Fulbright scholar-in-residence, just recently published his sixth book, Gangs and Spirituality: Global Perspectives.

Deuchar is recognized internationally for his groundbreaking work on youth violence, gang culture, and crime, as well as procedural justice in policing and on gang distance and violence reduction strategies.

Listen in as Deuchar discusses his new book on the BBC Radio show, “Thinking Aloud”.

Professor Shares Research Findings with Federal Commission on School Safety

Dr. Sameer Hinduja, Professor in the FAU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking research on the impact of the virtual world and social media on violence and student safety.  He recently shared his expertise with the Federal Commission on School Safety headed by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Washington, D.C.

The Cyber & Classroom Connection

Hinduja kicked off the meeting by sharing findings that there is significant overlap between students who experience cyberbullying online and those who experience bullying at school.

“In our most recent study of a nationally-representative sample of approximately 5,700 middle and high-school students across America, 34% say that they have been cyber-bullied during their lifetime,” Hinduja said. “In addition, 12% revealed that they had cyberbullied others during their lifetime. So that’s one-third of youth across America indicating they’ve been bullied online, and about one in ten stating they have bullied others online. We also know that more than 80% of those being cyberbullied are also being bullied at school, indicating a strong overlap.”

Four Recommendations for Long-Term Change

After sharing that the ad-hoc strategies schools often employ are lacking in terms of lasting impact, Hinduja shared his four recommendations to the Federal Government for comprehensive and systemic change:

  1. Create a positive school climate of connectedness.
  2. Modify social norms to reward responsible social media behavior.
  3. Tap into students’ knowledge to help set achievable standards.
  4. Implement resilience programming for empowerment.

In closing, Dr. Hinduja recommended that the Federal Government provide more personnel and funding to schools, add funding for research to make sure initiatives are optimized, seek better ways to get best practices into the hands of those who need them, and finally, promote accountability at the school, state, and federal levels.

“This will help ensure that adequate resources are provided so that our students can thrive, and our communities can flourish,” Hinduja said.


Click below to watch Dr. Hinduja make his recommendations to the Federal Commission on School Safety.

Battling Back from Bullying

Photo Credit:


Excerpt below from “Battling Back from Bullying” which aired on and features research from Dr. Sameer Hinduja, a professor of criminal justice at Florida Atlantic University.

… Sameer Hinduja, PhD, Professor of Criminology and Director of Cyberbullying Research Center at Florida Atlantic University is a cyberbullying expert and knows how much words can hurt.

“They don’t as compared, for example, to a punch, or a kick, or a push or a shove, but still absolutely they can cut deeply,” Dr. Hinduja said.

That’s why parents should help teach their children resilience.

“Resilience is bouncing back from adversity,” continued Dr. Hinduja. … Watch the full piece and read the video transcript on

Teens Are Cyberbullying Themselves. Why?



Photo Credit:


Excerpt below from “Teens Are Cyberbullying Themselves. Why?” written by Sasha Jones for and featuring research from Dr. Sameer Hinduja, a professor of criminal justice at Florida Atlantic University.

Hannah Smith was a 14-year-old living in Lutterworth, England, when she began receiving hateful messages on the social-networking site A few weeks later, she committed suicide.

Convinced their daughter was a victim of cyberbullying, her family called for the question-and-answer site to be shut down. But when officials investigated what happened, they found that 98 percent of the messages sent to Hannah could be tracked back to her own IP address…

Read the full article on

SCCJ Hiring New School Director

College for Design and Social Inquiry at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) invites applications and nominations for the position of School Director to begin spring or fall 2019 on the Boca Raton campus.

The Director, together with the Dean of the College for Design and Social Inquiry, is responsible for cultivating and enhancing scholarly excellence, setting intellectual standards, and establishing academic priorities. The School is comprised of 13 tenure-track/tenured faculty, three full-time instructors, adjunct instructors, and administrative assistants.

The primary responsibilities of the Director will include providing:

  • administrative and intellectual leadership
  • oversight of the School’s academic programs and budgets
  • support for faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students

The next Director will be visionary about the School’s future and opportunities, and able to build on the active research and scholarship agendas of faculty, undergraduate and graduate education programs, and current engagement with the community and discipline. Click here to see a complete overview of the School Director position.


Click here to begin your application.

To see all available positions, please visit


SCCJ Faculty: By the Numbers

Did you know? The FAU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice faculty have published more than 25 books, made more than 500 presentations at conferences around the world, published more than 300 journal articles and book chapters, and received more than $8.2 million in sponsored research funding from agencies, including:


  • The Florida Department of Corrections
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services federal flow through
  • The Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission flow through from the MacArthur Foundation
  • The National Institute of Justice federal flow through
  • The GEO Group

Keep up the great work!

Associate Professor Becomes VLEOA Board Member


Adam Dobrin, Associate Professor in the FAU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, was recently voted to the Board of Directors for the Volunteer Law Enforcement Officer Alliance (VLEOA) 501(c)3 charitable organization.

The VLEOA is an international entity that exists to assist in the formation, expansion, and training of state, county, and city volunteer law enforcement units.  It also works to promote awareness of the role of the volunteer officer in providing for the safety of the citizens to their communities.


Adam Dobrin, fourth from right, along with representatives from nine different countries’ volunteer police forces

“I am humbled and honored to be supported both by the membership of the VLEOA and the leadership of FAU in my continued academic and professional endeavors related to volunteer policing,” Dobrin said. “Community engagement is a critical aspect of the mission of FAU, and by volunteering to serve the VLEOA and my community, I also serve the students and mission of FAU.”

Dr. Dobrin has numerous professional and academic articles and conference presentations on volunteer policing topics.  He also won FAU’s first Presidential Award for Outstanding Faculty-Led Community Engagement for Engaged Service in 2017 for his volunteer work as a road patrol deputy with his local sheriff’s office’s reserve unit.


Congratulations, Class of 2018!

On Thursday, May 3, 2018, nearly 300 bachelor students and 140 masters students accepted their diplomas from the College for Design and Social Inquiry at Florida Atlantic University. To all of our students, it has been our pleasure to have you in our classrooms and to watch you grow and learn in your programs.

Whether you are continuing your education or ready to apply your knowledge in the workforce, we look forward to watching your next chapter unfold. Remember that we are here for you and rooting for your success each step along the way.

As Chairman of the FAU Board of Trustees Anthony Barbar said during his undergraduate commencement speech, “It’s now our turn to learn from you.” Be well and best wishes!

  • 21 Bachelor of Architecture
  • 127 Bachelor of Arts
  • 16 Bachelor of General Studies
  • 14 Bachelor of Public Management
  • 23 Bachelor of Public Safety Administration
  • 70 Bachelor of Social Work
  • 16 Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning
  • 8 Bachelor of Urban Design
  • 9 Master of Nonprofit Management
  • 6 Master of Public Administration
  • 12 Master of Science
  • 106 Master of Social Work

Want to explore the degree programs in the College for Design and Social Inquiry at FAU? Call our Academic Advising Team today: (561) 297-2316

Spring 2018 Undergraduate Commencement

Spring 2018 Graduate Commencement

Professor’s Research Uncovers Key to Combatting Cyberbullying

It turns out that the key to combatting cyberbullying is… resilience. That was the major finding of a recent nationally-representative survey of 1,200 teens, conducted by Dr. Sameer Hinduja, cyberbullying expert and professor at the FAU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

“Everything hinges on the messages we tell ourselves and the beliefs we internalize about the adversity we face,” Hinduja said.

According to his research, victims of cyberbullying who lack resilience tend to act out in concerning ways.

“Whether it’s self-harm, interpersonal harm, violence, or deliquency,” Hinduja said.

On the other side of the coin, victims who possess resilience tend to find the courage to either block or report the cyberbully on their social media channels. The bullying also tends to not wound the victim as deeply when resilience is present.

“[The more resilient kids] didn’t really internalize the harm, and it didn’t really markedly affect their ability to learn and feel safe in school,” Hinduja said. “Parents, mentors, and other youth-serving adults must remember that we are ill-preparing adolescents for adulthood if we are always swooping in rescuing them from every social and relational struggle they face.”

“Hopefully, we can provide them a safe, supportive environment in which to learn, experiment, and develop a toolbox of skills to help them deal with haters, trolls, and anyone else who wants to tear them down – which is inevitable as they achieve success in their lives.”

Watch the full news report here.

Two CCJ Faculty Win Presidential Awards

2018 Presidential Award Winners

2018 Presidential Award Winners

Dr. Fred Bloetscher, from the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and Dr. Cassandra Atkin-Plunk and Dr. Sameer Hinduja, from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the College for Design and Social Inquiry


Florida Atlantic University hosted the 49th annual Honors Convocation on Wednesday, April 18, 2018.  The annual ceremony recognizes the University’s most outstanding students and faculty members. Student honors include prestigious merit-based scholarships, among other academic awards.  Faculty honors include researchers/scholars of the year, as well as teaching and advising awards.

Dr. Cassandra Atkin-Plunk, Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, won the Presidential Award for Outstanding Faculty-Led Community Engagement for Research for her work with the Florida Department of Corrections evaluating an inmate reentry portal, a GEO grant evaluating continuum of care, and two funded grants with the Palm Beach County Commission evaluating an offender reentry program and alternatives for frequent users of the Palm Beach County Jail.

Dr. Sameer Hinduja, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, won the Presidential Award for Outstanding Faculty-Led Community Engagement for Service for his work with tech giants like Microsoft and Facebook on cyberbullying and safe social media.

2018 FAU Mentor and Mentee of the Year

Dr. Lincoln Sloas

Dr. Lincoln Sloas

Congratulations to Dr. Lincoln Sloas, Assistant Professor in the FAU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, for being named the 2018 FAU Faculty Mentor of the Year – a completely student-nominated and student-elected award through FAU’s Mentoring Project.

College often means new experiences, responsibilities, demands, and decisions. For many students, it’s not always easy to navigate their new world and balance challenging course loads. Mentorship can make all the difference in a student’s success.

“Having someone to talk about classes, but also life in general, is very important,” Sloas said. “Sometimes students don’t have that outlet, so having someone like me can help them progress in their college career and in their life. I find great value in taking stock in students’ lives at FAU and post-graduation, and then keeping track so I can watch their careers flourish.”

Ms. Hanna Cedillo, a second-semester freshman, was named Mentee of the Year. Cedillo and Sloas have been working together as mentor and mentee throughout the 2017-18 academic year.

“His mentees know he bends over backwards to provide them with information, opportunities, and resources,” said Dr. John Smykla, School Director and Professor. “He also encourages them to produce quality work, and he does it with humility. Dr. Sloas is open to learning from students, rather than always looking for opportunities to advance his own work, and his award is well-deserved.”

Scottish Students Arriving for Summer

In alternate years of the Criminology and Criminal Justice Scotland study abroad program – coordinated by Dr. Cassandra Atkin-Plunk – criminology and criminal justice students from Edinburg Napier University and the University of West Scotland come to one of the three participating consortium universities (Florida Atlantic University, University of West Florida, and Washburn University).


Some 30 Scottish students, and three or four faculty, will arrive at FAU June 10th for a two-week visit. FAU CCJ faculty will present lectures, and the students will visit CCJ agencies and talk with CJ professionals, as well as soak up some sun and fun during their off time before heading home on June 23rd.


“We are extremely excited here in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice to host the Scottish students and faculty this summer,” Atkin-Plunk said. ” Last summer, our students spent two weeks in Edinburgh, Scotland at Edinburgh Napier University, where they heard lectures from various professors, as well as attended tours of the Scottish Parliament, Police Scotland Headquarters, a youthful offender institution, the Sheriff’s Court, and the High Court.”


“Our students had life-changing experiences in Scotland,” Atkin-Plunk continued. “It was such a fantastic experience for all involved, and I hope to provide a similar program for the Scottish students when they visit FAU and South Florida.”

SCCJ Hosts the Spring 2018 Internship and Career Fair


The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice hosted the Spring 2018 Internship and Career Fair.  Over 50 municipal, county, state, federal and private justice agencies participated.  The West Palm Beach Police Department’s Cops and Scholars program brought students and staff from Forest Hill High School to campus to experience the Fair, enjoy lunch, and tour the FAU Police Department and Stadium.  Go OWLS!

2017 Paralegal Association of Florida Scholarship Awards

Carrera Waller (shown left) and Michelle Bourbon (shown right), students in the Paralegal Certificate Program, received the 2017 Scholarship awards given by the Paralegal Association of Florida, Palm Beach County chapter.

The awards were presented at the monthly Palm Beach County chapter dinner meeting in West Palm Beach in November 2017. Presenting the awards is Tina Contino, the president of the Palm Beach County chapter of the Paralegal Association of Florida.

SCCJ Faculty Wins Springer Outstanding Article Award

45th Annual Meeting of the Southern Criminal Justice Association

Criminology and Criminal Justice professors John Smykla (shown left) and Vaughn Crichlow (not shown) along with their colleagues Matthew Crow and Jamie Snyder from the University of West Florida received the 2017 Springer Outstanding Article Award for their research, “ Police Body Worn Cameras: Perceptions of Law Enforcement Leadership.”

The award was presented at the 45th annual meeting of the Southern Criminal Justice Association in New Orleans, LA in October 2017.  Presenting the award is Professor Wesley Jennings (second to left), editor of the American Journal of Criminal Justice.


SCCJ Professor Sameer Hinduja serves as Fulbright Specialist

My Experience as a Fulbright Specialist on Bullying and Cyberbullying Prevention

This past summer, I served as a Fulbright Specialist at the Anti-Bullying Centre (ABC) at Dublin City University (DCU) in Dublin, Ireland. It was an amazing experience. I just wanted to take a few minutes to share what it involved, who I spent time with, and how it made an impact – not just short-term, but hopefully long-term as well. I’m already looking forward to going back!

We know that with the almost ubiquitous use of social media and smartphones by adolescents these days across Ireland and most other countries, certain forms of teen technology misuse continue to cause problems at school, in communities, and on social media. These issues have made many Irish educators, parents, and other youth-serving professionals very nervous as it relates to their negative impact, and very overwhelmed in terms of knowing what to do.

My responsibilities generally involved serving these constituent groups in any way I could. I provided bullying and cyberbullying prevention trainings to various audiences – including academics, legislators, policy makers, IT professionals in schools, Fortune 500 companies like Facebook and Intel, teachers, social workers, and others who need to understand the best practices that are evolving on the topics we study. I have already kept in touch with so many from my trip, and know that the relationships will continue because our goal and passion is the same: to build and maintain safe spaces offline and online in which kids can thrive on every level.

In addition, my time was spent initiating and dialoguing about research collaborations with a number of lecturers, professors, and graduate students both in the Dublin area as well as across the country. To be honest, it was crazy to see that various professionals who work with adolescents wanted to spend face time with me and just chat about their projects! I didn’t know specifically how I could be of help given the fact that they are based in Ireland and have to deal with context-specific problems, but I realized that these issues involving teens are pretty much universal. It turned out that I did have a lot to say and a lot of value to add when we spent time together and dialogued about best practices and future directions at the intersection of teens and technology.

Finally, I spoke extensively to the print, radio, and TV media, generating €328,818.00 in publicity value for my host (Dublin City University), my home university (Florida Atlantic University), and the Fulbright Foundation. It felt like I was being shuttled to this interview or that interview every single day – which again was shocking and unexpected to me.

I remember frequently thinking to myself: What can I add that hasn’t already been said? How can my words really make a difference to Irish educators, Irish mental health workers, and Irish families? How can I inspire Irish youth to set themselves up for an amazing future by connecting and interacting with others online with empathy, wisdom and kindness? How can I get them to develop resilience to face social and relational hardships in their life, so they can be overcomers and do epic things as they move into adulthood? Here again, the words came and I honestly believe I contributed a lot of value, instead of just adding to the noise with random feel-good inspirational statements or other fluffy points that sound great but lack substance.

I’d like to give a shoutout to my main host, Dr. James O’Higgins Norman, who heads up the ABC. It was remarkable how my work and the work of his Centre at DCU fit so seamless and beautifully together. It was wild how quickly I was able to settle into my days at the Centre, and it felt like I had been a part of their team my entire life. Every day was productive and enjoyable because of their warmth, competence, and fun dispositions. And I felt like my presence there made a difference. This is all I could have hoped for with my Fulbright experience: to serve in a role that has significant and far-reaching meaning for my host, and for the host country.

As I reflect back upon the experience, the Fulbright award allowed me to contribute in significant ways by educating youth professionals on prevention and response strategies to address online misuse among adolescents, and encouraging them to promote the positive uses of technology through specific, meaningful strategies. I believe that the introductions and connections I have made will foster deeper partnerships that will contribute to various noteworthy projects we hope to undertake. And I feel that simply being there – fully present and available to so many in Ireland as a resource – was tremendously valuable to those who reached out or heard me speak, and I promised to continue to help them moving forward.

SCCJ hosts FAU’s first-ever Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence

University of West Scotland Professor Ross Deuchar joins SCCJ for the Spring 2017 semester as Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence.  Dr. Deuchar is an internationally  known scholar for his research on gang violence.  He will teach a special topics course on Youth Culture and Violence and deliver SCCJ’s spring research colloquium.  Dr. Deuchar will also engage with West Palm Beach police criminal investigation detectives, and other community agencies.  Learn more about Dr. Deuchar: