Molly Merryman: Associate Professor of Criminology and Justice Studies

Faculty spotlight: Molly Merryman

Molly Merryman is an Associate Professor of Criminology and Justice Studies at Kent State University. She began in the field of criminology and criminal justice writing policy for nonprofits and government agencies. Merryman was committed to finding a way to enhance the understanding of victims on a larger scale than she could in those professions.

“I think victimology as a subfield of criminology and justice studies is emerging now because we have a greater understanding of the needs of victims,” Merryman says. “As a society, we recognize that our criminal justice system needs to be treating victims better in order to have true justice in our systems.”

A Master’s degree has become critical for those planning to enter the fields of criminology and criminal justice, Merryman notes. A generation ago, she says, the field didn’t even require an undergraduate degree. Now, however, she says the field has greater expectations of a more honed and advanced knowledge background.

“Our program here at Kent State University can really provide those kinds of detailed understandings, very nuanced skills and a greater, I think, confidence for people coming out of our program,” Merryman says. “And this is essential in a global economy.”
The criminal justice field, Merryman notes, has seen significant changes – specifically “an increased connection to private industry and also a greater reliance on global networks of justice.”

Merryman believes the online delivery model of Kent State’s Master’s program in Criminology and Criminal Justice fits with the way the field is emerging.

“Many of the students, both at undergraduate and Master’s level, in Criminology and Justice Studies, are working professionals in fields that really are challenging to coming to a brick and mortar type of a university,” she says. “Schedules change, cases come along in which a police officer might have to completely derail their normal schedule. This type of a delivery system allows for students, no matter what the current demands of their profession be, to be fully engaged in the classroom, and not existing as, I guess, what I would call ‘casual students’ who are able to come in when they can and then have to leave for semesters at a time.”

Merryman cautions that succeeding in Kent State’s online program is no cakewalk.

“These are not easy, casual classes, where you simply watch some content and expect to finish successfully,” she says. “We are, at Kent State University, really using the online platform to increase the challenges and increase the possibilities of your learning, so we truly do need for you to be wanting to succeed, wanting to have that desire to learn. This isn’t a type of online program where a student is, for all practical purposes, just mailing it in.”

Merryman adds that while the classes aren’t easy, the professors at Kent State are all willing to take the time and give students the help they need to succeed.

“Don’t assume that we are not present on the other side of that computer screen,” she says. “We are real faculty who are willing to help you learn.”