Expert joins WSU Spokane criminal justice program

Bryan Vila, a nationally recognized expert on crime control and human performance issues and a former law enforcement officer, is joining the criminal justice faculty at Washington State University Spokane.

Vila most recently directed the Crime Control and Prevention Research Division of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ)  the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice.  Prior to joining NIJ in 2002, he was an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine, and later at the University of Wyoming.  Before becoming an academic, Vila worked for 17 years as a law enforcement officer in local, national and international settings.

Travis Pratt, director of the WSU criminal justice program, said, “We are proud to have Dr. Vila join our criminal justice faculty.His exceptional research skills and his national profile will be a tremendous asset to our university, to Spokane and to the Northwest region.”

Vila’s research focuses on two crime-control issues.  The first tries to develop crime control and prevention policies that balance short-term strategies for protecting people and property with longer-term efforts that attack crime at its roots. His other major line of research  on which he will work with WSU Spokane’s new Sleep and Performance Research Center  tries to understand the impact of work schedules and sleep disruption on police officer performance, health and safety.  Vila also studies historical trends in American criminal justice.

Vila is the author of “Tired Cops: The Importance of Managing Police Fatigue” (Washington, D.C.: Police Executive Research Forum, 2000), and editor with Cynthia Morris of “The Role of Police in American Society: A Documentary History” (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999) and “Capital Punishment in the United States: A Documentary History” (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997). He has authored numerous peer-reviewed book chapters and journal articles. His work has appeared in academic journals such as the American Journal of Sociology, Criminology, Politics and the Life Sciences, and Studies on Crime and Crime Prevention.

Vila received a doctoral degree in evolutionary ecology from the University of California, Davis, where he also earned a master’s degree in ecology. He has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in public management, both from Pepperdine University.

Brian Pitcher, WSU Spokane chancellor, said, “The WSU Spokane campus provides unique opportunity for creative interdisciplinary cross-over for world-class faculty. Dr. Villa has a national reputation for scholarship in both criminal justice and police performance. At WSU he strengthens a nationally ranked criminal justice program with colleagues in Pullman and Spokane, and also enhances the highly successful new sleep and performance research program in Spokane. We are excited to recruit another scholar of his accomplishment.”

About the WSU Criminal Justice Program

The WSU criminal justice program, founded in 1941, is one of the oldest such programs in the nation. Ranked 18th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2005, it is the home of the first chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the criminal justice honorary.

Graduates of the graduate program have distinguished themselves in law enforcement, juvenile justice, corrections, government and industrial security, and state planning agency research and evaluation positions. A significant number are enrolled in doctoral programs in pursuit of the PhD.

WSU launched a doctoral degree in criminal justice in 2003. Students may pursue a doctorate through WSU Spokane; it includes a number of required courses that must be taken at the Pullman campus. The master’s degree in criminal justice is fully available at WSU Spokane.

About Washington State University Spokane

WSU Spokane is the urban research campus of Washington State University, ranked one of the top public research universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. WSU is ranked by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a research extensive and doctoral-granting university.

WSU Spokane’s developing campus at the Riverpoint campus lies immediately adjacent to downtown on the scenic Spokane River. The campus features advanced studies and research in the social, behavioral and policy sciences; health sciences and health professions; the design disciplines; education; and undergraduate degrees in selected fields.

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