A former police officer who rose from being a G.E.D. recipient to becoming the Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies at Sul Ross State University has been selected to become the next Vice President of Academic Affairs at Lincoln College.
Dr. Hamin Shabazz has been at the Alpine, Texas, state university since 2016. Prior to that he chaired the Department of Criminal Justice at Stevenson University in Stevenson, MD for six years. Dr. Shabazz is married and he and his wife, Hyacinth, have three children.
Dr. Shabazz has risen to the highest levels of academia from a humble background that began in the urban community of Irvington in New Jersey. After earning his GED certificate and serving as a police officer in Camden, N.J. Dr. Shabazz realized that to achieve his overall goal of helping young people, he needed to return to college and pursue not only a bachelor’s degree, but eventually seek a terminal degree.
“Dr. Shabazz will be an excellent addition to our leadership team,” Lincoln College President Dr. David Gerlach said. “His academic credentials and background in administration and compliance will help lead the College as we move forward, expanding our degree options, while maintaining academic excellence.”
At all of the academic institutions he has served at, he has had significant experience dealing with accreditation issues, particularly in the areas of student learning, strategic planning and curriculum revision and assessment. That experience will be critical as Lincoln College moves forward in its plans to become a full four-year university, Gerlach explained.
“At the same time, his personal story and experience will serve as an inspiration to our students and, really, to everyone who comes in contact with Dr. Shabazz. It is almost unheard of for an individual to be able to rise from a high school dropout to a PhD and we feel very fortunate to have been able to recruit an administrator of his caliber,” Dr. Gerlach added.
“I am excited about the opportunities at Lincoln College and can’t wait to get to Lincoln and help the College move forward and expand its academic offerings, so that we can eventually achieve University status,” Dr. Shabazz said. “During the interview process I had the chance to meet the faculty and see the caliber of instructors at Lincoln. As the college grows, I intend to be a tireless advocate for continued academic excellence.”
Another goal, Dr. Shabazz said, is to expand international education opportunities by giving Lincoln College students the chance to study and work abroad and by attracting more international students and faculty to the Lincoln campus.
As a Criminal Justice expert, Dr. Shabazz has worked closely with police agencies in other nations for over a decade. He explained he first began working with South African Criminal Justice authorities in all three branches of the Criminal Justice system and has since expanded those learning opportunities to other nations as well.
He has presented papers and participated in national criminology panels, including panels and papers on national and international topics, including the handling of forensic evidence, policing, the burden of proof, human trafficking and even the rise of the Al-Qaeda affiliated Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria.
“I want to use my connections with the Criminal Justice system and social service agencies in other nations to expand the experiential learning opportunities for the students at Lincoln College,” Dr. Shabazz said.
His own experience mirrors the diversity of the Lincoln College student body. Alpine, Texas, has a population of 6,000 and sits in the rural Big Bend area of the state. Stevenson University is in an unincorporated suburban community outside of Baltimore and Dr. Shabazz describes his own background growing up in a family of 10 in the North Jersey area as not that different from the urban areas of Chicago.
He also understands that his personal background can serve as a source of inspiration to the students at Lincoln College, showing that with determination and a plan, a recipient of a G.E.D. certificate can reach the upper echelons of the academic world.
Dr. Shabazz said when he joined the Camden Police Department, “I was exposed to a whole different circle of people, not only police officers but judges, lawyers and social service providers as well. They were educated and I saw a different way of achieving and doing things. I also saw that if I wanted to reach my goals, a higher education would be necessary and I had to go back to school.”
The law enforcement experience also helped him discover what his own life goals entailed.
“A lot of the people I was encountering while policing, were people who were breaking the law because of social ills. They lacked the knowledge and social skills to handle and deal with their problems,” he said.
He sought advice from the professionals he worked alongside; asking them what would be the best way to satisfy his desire to help people. Eventually, Dr. Shabazz came to the conclusion that he could best meet his goals if he went back to school. That meant embarking on a multi-year path toward an advanced degree as an adult student.
Dr. Shabazz’s experience as an adult student, having to balance the pressures of family life, work and schooling, also made him a good fit for Lincoln College, Dr. Gerlach said, especially since the College is expanding its Accelerated Bridge to Education (ABE) education program to Lincoln beginning this year.
Reflecting on his own life and his message to students, Dr. Shabazz said he wants them to learn that “if you see something you want to achieve, you need to plan for it and take those steps. You may think it is impossible, but you should never give up.”