Jeff Walker, Ph.D., traces his interest in interdisciplinary work to his days as a graduate student at Sam Houston State University earning a doctorate in criminal justice. Only one professor in his program had a doctoral degree in the field, and the others worked in education, law, social work, psychology and sociology. Consequently, the tenets of interdisciplinary work were imbued early in his academic career.
Now professor and chair for the Department of Criminal Justice in the College of Arts and Sciences, Walker channels those early lessons into his work at UAB. He researches neighborhoods — work that he says necessarily involves studying poverty, violence, crime and revitalization and require cross-community partnerships with nonprofit organizations and governments and interdisciplinary collaborations with researchers studying economics, public policy and government, public health, real estate and more. A nominator writes that Walker’s expertise in geographic information systems is sought after by colleagues who work in the Lister Hill Center for Health Policy, the School of Engineering and the departments of Political Science and Public Administration and Health Care Organization and Policy, among others.