Monahan graduated from Florida State University in 1974 with his Ph.D. and works to apply psychological theory to criminal investigation. His research interests include community policing, prison reform strategies, and empathy and crime. He has been a licensed psychologist in Connecticut since 1974 and sits as Chair on the Board of Examiners of Psychology in Connecticut. We sat down with James Monahan and learned what he is doing inside and outside of the classroom.
Well I graduate from New Haven College in 1968, Mrs. Sherwood and president Pete Peterson allowed me to blossom and become a good teacher. Being a teacher is twofold you serve as a mentor and serve as a tutor.
I think the future of teaching is going to be increasingly using Internet and high tech applications. The wealth of Internet sites through book publishers and Universities there are probably 30 websites that I direct students to. Hanko Dobi teaches them to do library research electronically from their rooms or the library. I would say that by the year 2015 that 80 percent of the learning would involve the Internet and computers. We are already seeing the demise of newspapers and magazines.
A good instructor has patience and the ability to commiserate with students. I think a good teacher needs to be intelligent and open minded with it comes to teaching methods.
I have a lot of different interests. We are seeing important research on terrorism and monitoring terrorism worldwide. Basically watching for terrorist activities in the community. I am writing a paper on how to look for pre-terrorists behaviors. Then these police officers will teach their constituents how to observe and what to look for in terms of per-terrorists as well.
Yes, you are more than encourage you are required. I am on the sabbatical leave committee, University College on CEA and I have a strong interest in the study abroad program. We have encouraged Dr. Alpha Russo of the Italian Consulate in Manhattan to come to UNH to give a speech. This summer I taught a course in Florence, Italy on the Italian mafia. I also direct the International Security program for students who want to become Federal Agents. I require a foreign language and study abroad. I have upwards of 100 students in that program already.
I admire Dr. Christy Boronico who runs the experiential education program. I admire Ira Kleinfeld. I admire Hanko Dobi and President Kaplan. If we had President Kaplan 30 years ago we would be on track with Trinity College. I admire Lynn Monahan and Associate Dean Bill Norton.
We are the largest public safety programs in the United States. We soon will have a doctoral program of our own. We are the flagship of the University. Glad to see that President Kaplan is putting money into other programs to give them a boost. The other programs have to grow with the university.
I expect them to engage me. The students at UNH are often withdrawn, shy and hesitant particularly women. I will give extra credit for dumb questions or answers. I shape their behavior over time to participate. When students come to class they should expect to participate. I structure classes as groups. In police work your partner is the most important person so in college your team members are just as important to your education.
I think my international justice and security is the sexiest course. It is designed to provide skills that the federal system would need. Our victimology course is great for those working in the court system of city police departments. We also have a great CJ program to become cops. There are oodles of police officers in CT that graduated from UNH.
The toughest year in college is the freshman year. The process of letting go of mom and dad and living in a dorm and opportunities that you couldn’t do at home is hard. Do everything in moderation. To tell them don’t do it is a set up for them to do it. Develop good study habits early on. Don’t do drugs. Moderation of activities. If you feel lonely call mother up or talk to a counselor here on campus. There are a lot of resources use them. Go into sports, go to the games, get involved or join the intramurals. When I was a student here in the 60s we had Bartels and the library was over by south campus. I had wonderful teachers and professors who were good role models.
Dr. Norton in his wisdom decided that I would teach Research and Statistics when I was first hired my style has evolved over the years. You can’t just lecture at students. One day I lecture and we do practice and the other day I have them do reading answer questions and present to class. It is in line with experiential learning. In statistics I no longer require them to memorize data but what I do is to teach them how to use what test is important and to apply that to the problem they are presented. The final exam is five made up case problems where the student has to decide what test to utilize to solve the problem. For example you are a police chief with five cases and then summarize and interpret the data.
Well I use the smart classroom, DVDs, overhead projector, the Internet, and computer software. Like tonight I have a mid-term but I will also show the movie “The Butcher Boy”. Children today can’t be lectured too. You are lucky these days to keep their attention. You are constantly challenged to come up with new processes to teach. My students usually don’t get below a B and I am very pleased with their performance.
The research and statistics courses I teach don’t lend themselves to balance of theory and practice. What I try to do is combine a formal lecture and some sort of skill learning. Don’t want students to simply copy what I say I want them to have their own perceptions. Teach them to have their own minds.
In my other life I was chief psychologist. I was a lecturer of psychiatry. We took care of any psychological disorders that children had. I presented a paper on these topics. My field of interest is the plight of the mentally ill. I have an interest in supporting and working with community police officers. I have an interest in inoculating citizens so we teach them the signs of terrorism on their block or community and where to go to report terrorism.
I have been chair of the board of examiners since 1991, Governor Whicker appointed me. Our job is to review and hear complaints brought to the department of health services that relates to sexual assault and addiction by the community. There was a range of choices for discipline. I reached a point that in the early 90s I wanted another challenge. I also worked with the board on upgrading the license process.
We have an extremely powerful group of people who most had careers before they came to the university. We have many marines, former prosecutors, police officers, forensic scientists and forensic chemists. I think we take care of our constituents and alumni. We are one of the only colleges that have created an alumni fellowship award. We have honored two women and this year will honor Lt. Jeff Facinellini. Just this last week we honored retired Chief Cisco. He is now a commander out in the Orange campus.
I have taken Mandarin and Italian and both professors were interesting and dedicated to their work. Elizabeth Tortora was part of my summer course program to Italy. Dr. Chen Yu is a teacher in the business school and runs programs to China he teaches very well.
I am excited about this terrorism research where we will be teaching police in urban setting and teaching of private security guards. Security guards are operating in banks and malls these people need to also know the threat of terrorism and how to identify terrorist activity.
I have a wonderful student Carly an undergraduate I am hoping to involve her in the grant application process. I am writing a recommendation for her to join NCIS.
I attended when this was a smaller university then went onto Wesleyen, then Florida State, then I went to Emory Medical School as part of my Clinical Internship, then back to Florida State as director of behavioral psychology. I learned about management and then I moved up north and I worked at Elmcreast Hospital, then finally Children’s medical hospital. I miss the diversity of the hospital setting.