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Sociologist Short Jr. receives WSU Lifetime Service Award

Sociologist James F. Short Jr., a nationally respected researcher and university leader, received the WSU President’s Award for Lifetime Service March 24.

One of the nation’s leading authorities in juvenile gang behavior, delinquency and criminology, Short joined the WSU sociology faculty in 1951 and retired in 1997, when he became an emeritus professor. Although retired, he continues to be active in sociology research and publishing, including works on violence and violence avoidance.

“I have been associated with WSU for over 35 years. During that period, and for nearly two decades before, Jim Short has been a leader and a central force for excellence. He is the perfect example of what we envisioned in creating this award,” said WSU President V. Lane Rawlins in presenting the award during WSU’s annual Celebrating Excellence Recognition Banquet held at the Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum.

Short’s areas of research interest are criminology, delinquency and sociology of risk. In the late 1950s, he began a landmark study on young gang members in Chicago. Today, he is focusing again on gang research, with multiple book chapters in press and many papers in progress. He is co-editor of a soon-to-be-published book, “Studying Youth Gangs,” and is working on another book on juvenile delinquency.

Other books he has written or edited include “Poverty, Ethnicity, and Violent Crime,” “Delinquency, Crime, and Society” and “The Social Fabric: Issues and Dimensions.”

He has mentored many graduate students during his tenure at WSU.Recently, with support from the National Consortium on Violence Research, he worked with WSU sociology doctoral student Lori Hughes, now an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at University of Nebraska at Omaha.  They re-analyzed field observational data from the Chicago study to explore the influence of situational contexts on the development of violence.

Short served as co-director of research for U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Commission of the Causes and Prevention of Violence and has been a consultant to many state and national projects. He recently joined the

Advisory Board of the non-profit Social Science Research Council Task Force on Hurricane Katrina and Rebuilding the Gulf Coast.

He is a former president of the American Sociological Association and the American Society of Criminology and former American Sociological Review editor.

Winner of numerous national and university awards, Short was WSU Graduate School dean from 1964 to 1968 and is a former director of what is now the WSU Social and Economic Sciences Research Center.

An Illinois native, he is a graduate of Ohio’s Denison University and earned master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago.

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