Doctoral Students Seeking Study Participants

Dear Colleagues,

We are three doctoral students embarking on a new research study of the experiences of faculty who have criminal histories. We are reaching out to you because we believe you or someone you may know might be interested and qualified to participate in our study.

We are looking for participants who are currently or formerly working as a faculty member, who holds a terminal degree, and who has been convicted of one or more felony convictions.

The purpose of this research is to better understand the experiences of college and university faculty members who happen to have a criminal background. There currently is very little research regarding the trajectory of individuals pursuing PhD?s after being found guilty of a felony. Research questions include what barriers may exist during in employment, and whether being open about criminal history during key experiences affect long-term employability as a faculty member within one?s field. Thus, towards setting a foundation for further research, a grounded theoretical approach and qualitative coding and analysis will allow for relevant themes to emerge.  This research utilizes a semi-structured interview protocol to obtain the personal experiences and opinions of those with the lived experiences of being a faculty member with a criminal history.

We will ask questions about:
Your experiences searching and applying for faculty positions;
Your experiences in the interviewing and hiring process for faculty positions;
Your experiences working as a faculty member;
Demographic information, including gender, ethnicity, discipline, etc.; and
General information about your criminal history, including basic conviction information, timelines of education, convictions, and incarceration history, etc.

We will not ask questions about:
Details regarding the incidents that led to your convictions;
Details regarding your experiences in the criminal justice process (e.g., arrest, trial, conviction, sentencing, parole/probation); or
Details regarding your experiences being incarcerated, if applicable.

The institutional review boards of Michigan State and Washington State Universities have approved this project, and of course, we will protect your confidentiality by not collecting or releasing identifiable information about you, including your name or where you work. Additional information about protecting your privacy will be shared with you in the informed consent document, if you choose to participate.

We hope to start conducting interviews in November 2017, including on-site at the American Society of Criminology annual meeting in Philadelphia; as well as through online video conferences. Interviews will last approximately one hour. If you or someone you know is interested in participating in our study, please contact any one of the study researchers listed below.

Thank you for considering participating and for passing along this invitation to others.


Michelle L. Malkin
Criminal Justice
Michigan State University

Bradley Custer
Higher Adult and Lifelong Education
Michigan State University

Gina Castillo
Washington State University

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