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mike lewis

Q&A with Assistant Professor Michael Lewis

This week we sat down with Michael Lewis, the Executive Director of the Criminal Justice and Social Sciences Center for Experiential Learning at Tiffin University, where we had a ribbon cutting this past week. Enjoy our chat with Professor Lewis.

Tell us about your position at Tiffin University.
I am currently the Executive Director for the Criminal Justice and Social Sciences Center for Experiential Learning. This is an exciting new initiative that the School of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences (SCJSS) has embarked upon in 2018. I manage the day-to-day operations of the Center, and am championing new programs and new networks that will continue to improve the learning of our students.

What is your background in your field?
I am a retired police officer from northeast Ohio and have extensive training, knowledge and experience in criminal investigations, crime scenes processing and death investigations.

Have you ever had any other jobs besides teaching college?
Yes, I actually was a part-time educator for many years before coming to TU full time. I was in the military, serving in the Navy, and a local police officer, working mostly as a detective. I primarily teach crime scene and investigation courses here at TU, since that was my professional background.

What do you like best about teaching at TU?
That’s an easy question to answer – the people! When we say it’s a “Great Day to be Dragon,” we mean it! Faculty, staff, students and the community are like no others. I have the occasion to travel and often visit other campuses and universities, and there really is no comparison. We are so very unique, friendly, inspiring, but professional here, it is unbelievable!

Our focus is education. We accomplish staying focused on providing the best possible education through collaboration, collegiality, formal, but adaptive structures, and continued self-institutional evaluation. We are preparing our future generations for success for the rest of their lives, that’s a great deal of responsibility, but well worth the pay off!!

Why are you passionate about your field?
My passion is, and has always been, to help others and do my best to provide our communities with a safe environment, and to help those who are less fortunate.

What advice would you give a person who is thinking about going back to school to pursue their degree?
My best advice to students is they should know what motivates them, possess the passion and desire to achieve their goals and beyond! Additionally, time management and networking is also needed.

Any personal information you’d like to share? (i.e., family, hobbies, pets, hidden talents)
I enjoy helping others and being a part of something larger than myself, so I remain active in various community groups, volunteer initiatives and professional organizations and networks.

What are some of the reasons that you teach online?
I enjoy teaching online because I attended some of my formal education online and witnessed first-hand the learning and building of a community in the online forum. Teaching in this modality, I can help students to achieve great success!

What is one thing that you have noticed that has changed for good in online education?
As technology continues to expand, students experience a well-rounded education at their fingertips anywhere and anytime, which provides for a more engaged student.

What are some effective practices you have noticed from students that are currently facing a lack of time to study due to having a family or working a full time job?
Time management, patience and a commitment to their education is imperative. Having open communication with their instructors are a must! I have found the faculty at TU to be very helpful in this area.

Does your department have any student clubs? Any internships?
We sure do, the SCJSS offers a myriad of student clubs and internship opportunities. An example is Alpha Phi Sigma (APS) who recognizes excellence of undergraduate and graduate criminal justice students here at TU. Our goal is to honor and promote academic excellence, community service, educational leadership and unity in APS.

I would remiss if I didn’t mention the Washington Center (TWC) as well. TWC is one of OUR flagship internships where students do a semester in Washington DC and really get some great working and hands-on exposure at selected agencies in D.C. Our students get a first-hand look into working and experiencing our nation’s capital through having a unique and enriching professional experience at the Washington Center internship!!

What new skills have you learned over the past year?
I firmly believe that education and learning is a lifelong process. I continue to up my skills, knowledge and abilities (SKAs) through attending current and relevant issues and topics relating both to higher education administration and criminal justice. This past year with other colleagues, I was fortunate to have attended several workshops involving outcome assessments and institutional development and planning. It is never too late to learn or do something new in life, opportunities abound!

If you could require me to read one thing before I graduate, what would it be and why?
Great question!! “Nine Shift” by Draves and Coates. This is in my top 3 books of all time!! The book explores the parallels between today and 100 years ago, examining the changes between the two transition periods of restructuring in society. This is an amazing read for both an individual who is entering the workforce and those who are near the end of their careers.