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LSU Today Flagship Faculty
What was your previous position and where?Previously, I was a graduate student at the Pennsylvania State University.
What brought you to LSU?After finishing graduate school and in the years since, I had job offers from other universities. But, LSU always won out because it’s a great university, located in a beautiful part of the country that is populated with smiling faces.
What is your research interest?I am a criminologist with an interest in race, ethnicity and crime. My current interest is Latino immigration and crime. My latest research shows that there are really two groups of Latinos in the United States, those that settled in traditional destinations in the Southwest and elsewhere, and those that are now settling in new destinations throughout the rest of the country. I discovered that these two groups are sociologically very different from one another. Latino communities in old destinations are often typical immigrant communities that are close-knit and relatively stable. But those in new destinations, in contrast, are socially disorganized and have violent victimization rates that are exceedingly high; same people but two different communities. My research currently focuses on this dichotomy in Latino life in the United States. It is a controversial idea that contradicts the narrative in contemporary criminology that all is well in Latino immigrant communities in the United States.
What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?Before I retire, I want to complete several books. The first, which I am working on now, is about the topic I discussed above – Latino immigration and crime. It should be done by the summer of 2011. My second book will be about the coming crime wave. I suspect that America is returning to the bad-old-days of crime that we witnessed in the late 1980s. My third book – and this is a long way off – will be a critique of the so-called “education-crisis” in America’s grade schools.
What do you enjoy most about LSU?I love the look, the smell, the feel of big land-grant universities like LSU. I work in an intellectual atmosphere with great colleagues and eager students, surrounded by big oak trees and beautiful buildings. Does it get any better?
What are your major accomplishments?My accomplishments include having nearly half of my scholarly articles published in the top few journals in the field; receiving the prestigious ATLAS grant to write my current book; acquiring nearly $900,000 in career research funding and awards; receiving the LSU Distinguished Faculty Award and seven teaching awards while at LSU; and creating the student recruitment plan for LSU that increased student enrollment this year by about 15 percent.