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School of Humanities, Education, Justice & Social Sciences

Thomas Zawisza, Ph.D.

Thomas Zawisza, Ph.D.

Office: Putnam - G26

Tel: 617-243-2116



  • Ph. D. Criminal Justice, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2014
  • M.A. Criminology, East Tennessee State University, 2010
  • B.A. Psychology, Kent State University, 2008
  • B.A. Justice Studies, Kent State University, 2008


  • Ethics in Criminal Justice
  • Research Methods
  • Criminology
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice

My primary research interest is using eye tracking technology to examine the role environmental stimuli have on the decision to burgle. I am also interested the journey-to-crime which includes investigating reference points of victims and offenders, the distance victims and offenders travel, and the direction victims and offenders travel.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio and am a graduate of Kent State University. After I obtained my undergraduate degrees, I attended East Tennessee State University and the University of Arkansas, Little rock, where I received my M.S. and Ph.D. respectively. My main academic interests are in neighborhoods and crime and in quantitative methodology. I enjoy teaching classes in research methods, statistics, and geographical information systems. Apart from my academic interests, I am a diehard Browns, Indians, and Ohio State fan. I also love to play board games as well as spending time with my family.      

What is important for your students to take away from your classes?
I want students in my classes to leave with two things. First, the concepts that they learn in class have real-world applications. In research methods, for example, students learn to formulate and evaluate hypotheses. It may seem difficult, but this occurs every day when we cook, decide what to wear, or even when we go grocery shopping. Second, I want my students to know that they do not have to follow the mold when they graduate. There are many interesting things to research in criminal justice - you just have to start thinking outside of the box.  

How does your professional background influence your time in the classroom with students?  
My research and my areas of interest have had a great influence on pedagogy in the classroom. It has been my experience that when provided with tangible examples of classroom concepts they are able to have a greater connection with the material. For instance, in criminology we discuss many theoretical paradigms that help us understand why individuals commit crime. Using research that I have worked on I am able to show students how these theories can be applied to study criminological phenomenon. I have also developed classes that are directly related to my academic interests such as environmental criminology and crime mapping in criminal justice.