Indiana State University Newsroom

New ‘School of Criminology and Security Studies’ positions programs for growth

July 29, 2019

Indiana State University's School of Criminology and Security Studies has been elevated to better reflect the unit's expanding mission and to support growth of the diverse programs offered.

"This new name shows a commitment to all of our programs," said DeVere Woods, director of the School of Criminology and Security Studies. "Even though no structural changes are being made, we needed to create an environment so all of our programs can thrive. It's a natural evolution we've been through before - criminology originally came out of sociology and that change enabled criminology to start its upward climb to become what it is today."

The name change became effective in May when the ISU Board of Trustees unanimously voted in favor of it. The more distinct name allows clearer communication regarding the range of programs and how broadly its resources can be used, such as beyond just criminology programs.

Criminology programs have the largest enrollment of any major at State, and the university added a new intelligence analysis and cyber and security studies program in fall 2018. Both were initiated by industry need and student interest.

"Indiana State University is committed to offering innovative programs that reflect both student interests and workforce needs in the state," said Mike Licari, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Indiana State. "We are ready to adapt curriculum and to create new programs, and I so applaud the faculty for their creativity and thoughtful innovations."

As faculty and staff have been busy updating marketing materials for the name change this summer, they also are readying the new cyber criminology center for fall. The facility will provide opportunities for students to learn hands-on cybersecurity tactics - both offensive and defensive techniques - and to conduct research related to cybersecurity, including nonverbal communication, facial cue identification, body language, eye gaze tracking and more.

"All this goes into cybersecurity research in terms of helping negate phishing and other types of attacks," said Instructor Bill Mackey, who teaches about cybercrime from a social science perspective. "Plenty of people are working to improve IT, but very few academics are looking at the behavioral side of things. We're applying tried-and-true crime prevention techniques to cybersecurity. It's cool, and we're the only ones doing it."

The cyber criminology center will also enable off-campus students to access and participate in the work. "Online students can connect to these computers and participate in real time," Mackey said, adding the system is segmented off the ISU network for additional security.

"Cybercrime is big, and it's only getting bigger, it affects everybody's daily life, it's nonstop, all day long, exponentially more than street crime, and yet we've done relatively little about it or for it in criminology," Mackey said. "Companies are asking me to send them interns. They love the idea of having someone skilled in behavioral sciences to do this work, so there is a lot of opportunity ... to get students into jobs."

The intelligence analysis major is the first of its kind in the state. Students learn how to solve complex, real-world problems when there is both time pressure and a lack of reliable information. This program highlights the continually evolving nature of intelligence analysis, with an emphasis on employing new academic research into analytical methods.

Students select one of four concentrations: counterintelligence (for those who desire a career in military), criminal intelligence (for those who desire a career in law enforcement, intelligence operations or intelligence collection (for those who desire a career in government).

A School of Criminology and Security Studies at State better aligns the graduate program with like programs to assist with recruiting top students and faculty. The school designation is common within the discipline for the larger and more diverse programs, Woods said. Indiana State's programs are in the top 10 percent nationally in terms of size, he added.

"It's something we've talked about for years," Woods said. "The process takes awhile to go through, and there wasn't a compelling need until these new programs came along and we started encountering inquiries from potential students who were confused, saying they want to study cybersecurity or intelligence analysis, why are they applying to the criminology department?"

The name change has been met with positive response from alumni and industry advisors, Woods said. "It's a culture change for us and our stakeholders. We're much broader. We're working more with the private sector and the military," he said. It's an exciting time. It's been invigorating bringing in this new side that we're now a part of and meeting new interesting people."

For more information about the School of Criminology and Security Studies, go to


Media contact: Libby Roerig, University Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or