Applause!

Monday October 01, 2018

Dr. Alice Edwards and Spanish Education major Maria Villamarin Racines will be teaching Spanish to senior citizens at Lifeworks in downtown Erie through October. A program of LECOM, LifeWorks Erie is a unique organization that provides opportunities for intellectual stimulation and discovery. The introductory Spanish class is the first language class that Lifeworks has offered area seniors.

Gary Sullivan, assistant professor of risk management, has been inducted into the Distinguished Alumni Society of Lake Land College in Mattoon, Illinois, from which he earned an associate degree in 1988. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Illinois and a master of business administration from the University of Pittsburgh. Sullivan was honored during the school’s Laker Homecoming weekend Sept. 28-29. Read more.


During the 2018 annual conference of the European Society of Criminology, Dr. Pete Benekos, emeritus professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, participated on a panel on Victims and Victimization. He presented a paper coauthored with Dr. Alida V. Merlo of the IUP Department of Criminology titled “Trauma-Informed Approaches and Juvenile Justice Reform.” The meeting was held in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and focused on Crimes Against Humans and Crimes Against Humanity. The keynote was presented by Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, who discussed the Siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre/genocide.

pete benekos

Dr. Adam Saeler, assistant professor of criminal justice, conducted a focus group with Erie Police Department officers regarding their efforts to reduce crime and increase positive perceptions of the Erie Police Department among residents of Little Italy. The focus group centered on the use of EPD’s mobile precinct as a base of operations for foot patrols in the Little Italy neighborhood. The technique is one aspect of the larger Byrne Criminal Justice Initiative/Innovations in Community Based Crime Reduction grant that the City of Erie received in 2016. The intended outcome of the mobile precinct and foot patrols was to reduce crime and increase positive, non-law-enforcement-based interactions between EPD officers and Little Italy residents in an effort to practice community-oriented policing. Resident surveys have already been completed, but officer perceptions would likely offer a valuable perspective of the effectiveness of the mobile precinct and the foot patrols based out of it. Dr. Saeler will present the findings to the grant committee at city hall. <with photo> Five students from Dr. Saeler’s crime prevention class participated in the data collection efforts; those students heard how perceptions and crime changed in Little Italy during the grant phase. Respondents noted how the neighborhood residents have interacted with officers, how resident perceptions have changed toward officers, and how crime has changed in Little Italy. Students were also able to participate in a foot patrol around the neighborhood which segued into constructive classroom conversations regarding real-world application of criminological theory.

erie police department focus group

Dr. Maria L. Garase, associate professor of criminal justice, presented a paper at the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Sciences (NEACJS) annual conference at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. Her paper was titled “Thinking Outside the Box: Participation in an Inmate Facilitated Restorative Justice Think Tank and Its Impact on University Teaching and Learning.” The paper discussed the process of forming a Think Tank on Restorative Justice at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Albion. The organic formation of the partnership between Mercyhurst University and SCI Albion has opened doors for faculty and student access to inmates’ perceptions on criminality as well as their thoughts on restorative justice and crime policy.

Dr. Maria L. Garase, associate professor of criminal justice, was selected to attend the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program training in Chicago, Illinois. The intensive week-long training prepares faculty to navigate the creation of and teaching of college courses inside a prison, where the class includes both college students and inside students (inmates). Four of the seven training days took place in Stateville, a maximum-security prison for men in Crest Hill, Illinois. One of the major activities required faculty and inmates, in small groups, to facilitate an activity with both inside and outside students. Garase’s group activity, titled “The Story of Silence,” was designed to examine how mass incarceration has silenced individuals and communities. One historic feature of Stateville prison is the “Roundhouse,” the Jeremy Bentham-inspired and last known standing panopticon in the United States. Although the Roundhouse no longer houses inmates, the superintendent of the prison granted the group special permission to tour the panopticon.

Tami Micsky, assistant professor/field director for Applied Sociology and Social Work, presented a workshop titled “The Community of Inquiry Framework and Social Work Distance Education” at the National Association of Social Workers Pennsylvania Chapter Conference Sept. 14 in Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania. She is pictured with Krista King, a social worker in the Philadelphia area, a classmate in Micsky’s doctoral program at Millersville University.

tami micsky 2018