CJ Department names first Beto Chair in 20 years

Sam Houston State University announced alumna Bitna Kim as the first Beto Chair in Residence within the College of Criminal Justice in over 20 years.

Kim is a 2008 SHSU graduate with a doctorate from the College of Criminal Justice.

The Beto Chair was established in 1979 as a chair in honor of George J. Beto, PhD. Since 1981, lecturers are able to speak about the field of criminology and criminal justice.

“I am honored and excited to see my former professors,” Kim said.

Kim is currently on sabbatical leave from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she joined their faculty in 2008. During this time, she will teach a course to four graduate and four doctorates students called International and Comparative Criminology.

“I’m looking forward to share my research and experiences to the class,” Kim said.

With Kim’s work in South Korea and in Asian and European areas, she hopes it will help students understand and focus on the international part of the course.

She’s recieved both a master and bachelor degrees from Chung-buk National University in South Korea.

Although there hasn’t been a Beto Scholar in over 20 years, the selection process is still vigorous.
Applicants must submit all of their information and send it to the Dean of Criminal Justice where he meets with a committee and it is then decided upon.

“After graduation I continued to talk to my mentors here, and they advised me to apply for the Beto Chair in Residence,” Kim said. “It is an honor to graduate and come back to campus and be accepted as a Beto Scholar.”

As an eight-year alumna, Kim has a big project that she plans to revisit. A grant in 2007 called the Law Enforcement and Community Corrections contributes a center for the efforts for the probation, parole and law enforcement officers and the factors contributing with female deaths.

“We are following up and we are doing the same survey,” Kim said. “We want to see what happened in 2007 and see if there are any major changes in the partnership.”

Other than her big research project, Kim has received other awards as well.

Kim is the recipient of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Minority Mentorship Grant Award, and Emerging Scholar Award from the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice.

She has substantial reports on various topics such as intervention and treatment programs in corrections, gender issues, intimate partner homicides, police community corrections partnerships and domestic violence.

As the spring semester is rolling in on students, Kim explained the challenges she will face this semester.

“I graduated in 2008, and students expect me to know Sam Houston, but a lot has changed since I was last here.”

Aside from the changes that Sam Houston as made to the campus, Kim appreciates the help she’s had from the people who she’s come across with.

“Overall I really appreciate getting my degree here,” Kim said. “Not only is it one of the top programs in the country, I appreciate all my mentors. I really hope the networking grows from IUP to the faculty here.”

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