On faculty since 2009
Ed.D., Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, 2006
M.A., St. Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois, 2001
B.A., Illinois State University, 1992
“As an educator helping to shape the minds of those entering the field of justice, I do not take lightly my responsibility to stress the Christian philosophies on justice.” And this is the dedication with which Dennis M. Connelly approaches his teaching.
A former Chicago police officer, Connelly has taken his 12 years of experiences in the field of justice and transformed them into lessons for his students in the criminal justice program. Connelly has held positions from deputy sheriff to correctional officer to patrol sergeant to gang sergeant, and after sustaining an injury that ended his law enforcement career, Connelly headed back to the classroom as a professor. “As a result of these experiences, I believe I am better prepared to educate and provide service to all members of a community,” said Connelly.
For Connelly, the key to successfully administering justice lies not only in a strong understanding of the Christian philosophy of justice but in the ability to understand and appreciate diverse populations. “I welcome the opportunity to share and learn from my many encounters with people of all nationalities, races, and denominations,” said Connelly. “My broader understanding and awareness of the differences of others served me well as I entered into law enforcement.”
As a police officer in Chicago, Connelly encountered people from all walks of life. His experiences shaped him into “a more complete man with a keen sense of the diversity in our classrooms and our world as a whole.”
Finding common ground on which to learn is Connelly’s goal for himself and his students, and the greatest achievement is learning from his students. “Only through education can ignorance be overcome,” said Connelly. “Stressing the similarities while still celebrating the differences is what makes the educational system in this country second to none.”
As a Christian, Connelly’s faith naturally becomes part of the education process and allows him to successfully interact with those of different faiths and walks of life. “Educating in the spirit of tolerance, respect, and understanding helps us to learn in a healthy environment,” said Connelly. He seeks to continue his own experiences in the classroom, encountering more cultures and imparting his knowledge with an atmosphere of respect.