4 Questions with KIE Faculty – Dr. Kallee McCullough

4 Questions with KIE Faculty – Dr. Kallee McCullough

Interview with Dr. Kallee McCullough, KIE Affiliate Faculty and Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice. See Dr. McCullough’s bio here

How does ethics relate to your research, teaching, and/or public engagement?

Ethics is a part of everything we do and is particularly fundamental to consider and maintain in research. An ethical researcher will, for example, ensure that people who participate in their study are doing so willingly and with full consent. Individuals who are incarcerated are considered particularly vulnerable and have historically been taken advantage of for research purposes. There are several examples of twentieth century researchers conducting harmful medical experiments in prisons. Today, we make sure people who are incarcerated are not exposed to high-risk research and are not offered incentives that would be difficult to refuse, which include financial incentives for study participation. Incarcerated individuals who are lucky enough to have a paid job are typically paid less than $1 per hour for prison work. Confirming voluntary involvement in research is one of many ethical principles that guide my research and inform the research methods course I teach.

What is a current project you are working on that excites you? 

While I have been at CSUB over the past year and a half, I have most enjoyed getting involved in campus organizations like the Kegley Institute of Ethics, the Organization of Women Leaders, and student clubs. Through these organizations, I have contributed to events on campus that connect our students with leaders in our community and highlight current events in the criminal justice system. I find it exciting to produce engaging events that are informative and encourage people to take action.

If you could have dinner with anyone from the past or present, who would it be and why?

I immediately thought of two people: Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I would ask Tyson about the universe of course! I appreciate the way he describes complex scientific principles in a way that gets people excited. As for the Notorious R.B.G., I would ask her about recent changes in the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court and her experience as one of only four females to ever sit on the highest court in our nation. This question also made me think about all the amazing colleagues and friends I have around me. I would be happy to have dinner with any of them to talk about their passionsand motivate each other. We need to appreciate the people around us who inspire us every day.

What is an important project or topic you would like KIE to prioritize over the next three years?

This is a difficult question to answer as there are many important topics relating to the area of criminal justice alone that would be worthwhile to address. Crime is something that affects everyone and is recognized as a persistent feature of human society. A relevant question for KIE to address would be: what do ethical responses to and treatment of criminal events look like within and outside of the United States? KIE can contribute to answering this question by continuing to sponsor talks by criminal justice system leaders, victims, and community providers in our area and abroad. Particularly pressing issues we face in our community are incarceration and reentry, policing homeless individuals, and gun violence. It would be beneficial to hear how international communities address these social problems. Such talks would help us understand where our criminal justice policies and practices lie on the ethical spectrum at an international level.