Dr. Richard Gee joined Finlandia’s Suomi College of Arts & Sciences in 2012 when he was brought on to develop the University’s Criminal Justice curriculum. After revising, creating and teaching more than 30 different courses and establishing multiple articulation agreements for continued learning, Gee was honored at this year’s spring commencement with the 2022 Board of Trustees Distinguished Faculty Award.
“I was honored to be nominated by Dr. Virtanen for the award,” Gee said. “I appreciate the recognition. It is important that the students know they have valued faculty and the award communicates that to them.”
When Gee set out to create the curriculum in 2012, he aimed to fill the common gaps in more technical criminal justice programs and developed a curriculum that focused more on the liberal arts, suiting a wide variety of careers. Gee envisioned a holistic approach, combining the curriculum’s roots with Finlandia’s mission encouraged by service to the community and neighbor. A professional member of the Justice Studies Association and Midwest Sociological Society, Gee and his curriculum both share a commitment to social justice.
“I like to focus on the second portion of the title. Justice is something that is important to keep in focus when addressing the criminal. There needs to be a limit on collateral damage to not only the person that committed the crime, but also to those that were not convicted, such as family, friends, etc.”
Gee, who attained his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia, also shared what inspired him to become an educator.
“I had a sociology professor as an undergraduate that planted the seed of teaching and it grew with each professor I worked with. My dissertation chair in my PhD program showed through his example what it means to be a mentor. I hope that I am half the professor that he was.”
Since joining Finlandia, Gee said his focus has been to help his students become their best selves and to continue developing opportunities for students and the university that are focused on expanding the exposure to new experiences and knowledge. With the honor, Gee joins Irina Sergeyeva (2021), Dr. Hilary-Joy Virtanen (2019), Dr. William Knoblauch (2018) and Mary Jane Hatton (2017) as a Board of Trustees Distinguished Faculty Award recipient.
Related Articles & Links
Dr. Richard Gee
Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
Associate in Applied Sciences in Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts in Sociology
Relive Graduation Day 2022 at Finlandia University | Photo Gallery
Finlandia honors graduating Class of 2022