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New School of Criminal Justice director sets sights on forefront of criminology

January 23, 2015

For most people, it would take a lot to convince them to move to a completely new state, especially if they’ve been residing in the same state for 25 years. For Mary Finn, it took the opportunity of a lifetime.

Mary Finn was named the new director of MSU’s School of Criminal Justice on Jan. 1 of this year. Before this, she worked at Georgia State University as the Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Acting Director of Institutional Research.

Finn said the decision to move was a very conscious one.

“(Michigan) is one of the few places I would consider moving to after 25 years in one place,” she said.

Originally, Finn started out as a biology major. Then, she took a psychology class and was inspired to work in that field after landing an internship, which involved a workshop for the mentally disabled.

While at her internship, one of her clients became involved with law enforcement. This caused her to recognize a lack of awareness towards the disabled community in legal matters. Determined to change this, Finn changed her major and minored in psychology.

Finn said she’s incredibly excited to be at MSU, even though it’s much different compared to Georgia State. She described GSU as being a nontraditional campus with very few dorms that was close to everything.

While Finn said she appreciates a small campus environment, she likes MSU nonetheless.

“(The) community (here) is very much defined to a degree by MSU and I enjoy that,” she said. “It’s neat to be able to see so many students and faculty and staff in a very thriving community. It’s very exciting.”

Finn said some of her favorite things about MSU’s criminal justice program are the students, faculty and alumni, which she described as being engaging and active. She said she also appreciates the program’s high standards.

“It is very high ranked and well respected in the field. (It’s) among the top ten programs in the nation, so it’s a very strong field and it’s produced many great scholars,” she said.

Finn said her goals as the new director include preparing the students to work in the field, engaging in research and utilizing cutting edge innovations.

Some of her plans for the program include learning more about emerging crimes and conservation criminology, which are crimes involving the environment, and also furthering crime prevention efforts.

“(I want) to move (the program) forward, to keep it thriving,” she said.

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