START Director Gary LaFree was named one of six Distinguished Scholar-Teachers by the University of Maryland for the academic year 2012-2013.
The DST award honors tenured faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in their respective fields and as educators. LaFree is only the third faculty member from the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice to receive the award since its creation in 1978.
LaFree's scholarship has broadened the horizons of criminology. He developed a conflict perspective on sexual assault and has produced comprehensive analyses on the role of social institutions in the propagation and control of crime. As the director of START, LaFree helped create the Global Terrorism Database, the most comprehensive unclassified database of terrorist events in the world.
A highly regarded teacher and mentor, as well, LaFree helped guide the creation of the Terrorism Studies Minor in 2010 and has chaired more than 30 graduate student committees. Through START, he has also generated hundreds of internship opportunities in both research and communication.
"I believe that students learn best when actively engaged," LaFree said. "The hands-on experience that students get from working in a laboratory or a research center is invaluable to their academic and professional growth."
As a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher, LaFree will make a public presentation in fall 2012.