Spotlight on New Faculty — An interview with Liza Chowdhury
Interview by Catherine Krawiec
Following her career as a probation officer in New Jersey, Liz Chowdhury has joined Fairleigh Dickinson University’s School of Criminal Justice, Political Science and International Studies to share her expertise and experience with the next generations of practitioners.
FDU: Tell us about your new position…
Liza Chowdhury: I was hired as an assistant professor of criminal justice and I am currently teaching “Corrections, Gangs and Street Crimes,” “Crime and Punishment” and “Community Resource Management.” Much of my time is dedicated to creating interactive lectures, delegating assignments that encourage students to research and utilize academic resources to address an already complex criminal justice system.
FDU: How did you become interested in this field?
LC: Prior to coming to FDU, I was a graduate student at Rutgers University's School of Criminal Justice, where I worked for a research institute called the Police Institute. I admired the way that academics and practitioners came together to come up with innovative solutions on how to deal with the crime problem in Newark, N.J. I wanted to have practical experience in the field, so I began my journey in the field. I was a senior probation officer for the State of New Jersey as well as spent some time working in Paterson, N.J. with clients that were being supervised by probation. I soon realized that there were issues within the criminal justice system and understand the importance of research to help provide solutions for ongoing problems. I found that I enjoyed teaching and research, and this would be my way of bringing my practical experience to academia. I was able to utilizing my personal knowledge and academic knowledge so that I can help criminal justice and social service advocacy students learn about the system. I wanted to spend the rest of my career emphasizing the importance of academia and research and motivate students going into the field of criminal justice to utilize it so that they can become better professionals.
FDU: What is something that you would like to contribute to FDU?
LC: I would like to create a community partnership program with students from FDU and social service and criminal justice agencies in the neighboring cities in New Jersey. I want to engage in faculty related committees that develop even more enrichment for FDU students. I want to make sure that I am providing students with a well-rounded education and helping them hone their interest in learning about the criminal justice system.
FDU: What is something that you hope your students will take away from your class?
LC: I want my students to become critical thinkers, innovative planners and problem solvers. With all of the controversy that is currently in the media today about the criminal justice system, I want my students to learn all sides of the argument and become empathetic professionals and problem solvers. I want my students to learn how to use academia and practical knowledge to come up with solutions so that we can fix some of the issues and learn from past failed practices.
FDU: What is one piece of advice you can give to your new students?
LC: If you really want to work in this field, develop a passion for it and take on opportunities such as internships, join the criminal justice club, develop contacts in the field and always remember to take that passion with you into your future career. Sometimes there will be obstacles, but remember if you stay dedicated and continue learning, nothing will stop you from succeeding.
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