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Rigsby chosen to lead Ouachita’s new criminal justice degree program

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by Felley Lawson

ARKADELPHIA, Ark.—Dr. Malcolm L. Rigsby has been named professor of criminology and criminal justice and coordinator of the criminal justice program at Ouachita Baptist University. He brings more than 20 years’ teaching and research experience in higher education to the post, as well as a background in banking, private law practice and private-owned business. 

“The benefits that Dr. Rigsby’s experience, research and insight will bring to our criminal justice majors at Ouachita will be immeasurable,” said Dr. Kevin C. Motl, dean of Ouachita’s Sutton School of Social Sciences. “We welcome his capable leadership as we launch our innovative new program.” 

The new undergraduate residential degree launches Fall 2022 and is distinctive among criminal justice degree tracks in Arkansas. Housed in the university’s Department of Sociology, the program is designed to equip graduates for careers in the criminal justice system at every level. It will offer a multidisciplinary approach that includes classes exploring the intersection of criminal justice, sociology, political science and psychology. It will add 30 new credit hours—or 10 new courses—to Ouachita’s catalog as part of the 120 hours required to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice. 

Through internship partnerships with local law enforcement agencies, students will have opportunities for field experience with local law enforcement and courts. A 6-hour practicum administered through Ouachita’s Office of Campus Safety and Emergency Management will offer practical experience as well as certification for part-time uniformed law enforcement employment upon completion. 

These distinctions complement Rigsby’s point of view as an instructor. 

“My holistic approach to life promotes my connecting with students,” said Rigsby, “helping them to appreciate how knowledge links with real-life situations and thereby fosters greater self-potential.” 

He added, “In recent years the public perception of courts, law enforcement and corrections has shifted. There are calls for social justice, for control of mass shootings and other abuses. These perceptions reflect a need for well-trained criminal justice professionals with empathy, Christian values and ethics and who seek to protect and serve.” 

Rigsby holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in teaching from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas; a Juris Doctorate from the School of Law at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio; and a Ph.D. in sociology from Texas Woman’s University in Denton. 

Since 2011, Rigsby has been a faculty member in what became the department of sociology, human services and criminal justice at Henderson State University. He has served since 2020 as professor of criminal justice and coordinator of criminal justice programs at Henderson, where he was instrumental in developing Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in criminal justice, as well as certificate programs in criminal justice and forensics. He taught courses on topics including criminal law, due process and procedure, criminal types, advanced criminology and deviance. 

In 2006, as an adjunct professor of sociology and business at Ouachita, Rigsby developed online courses for the Department of Sociology. He went on to serve as visiting professor of sociology at Ouachita from 2008-2011, teaching courses in statistics, crime and delinquency, social theory, sociology of religion, multicultural relations, social problems and introduction to sociology. 

Motl said, “We are delighted to see Dr. Rigsby return to the Ouachita community and bring his extensive expertise in criminology and criminal justice to our campus.” 

For more information on Ouachita’s residential undergraduate criminal justice program, visit obu.edu/criminal-justice or contact Dr. Kevin C. Motl at (870) 245-5512 or [email protected]

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