• Professor Shelly Schaefer

    Shelly Schaefer

    Professor and Department Chair of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science


    Shelly Schaefer is an assistant professor of criminology in Hamline's Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. Professor Schaefer specializes in juvenile delinquency, juvenile justice, sociology of punishment, and policy evaluation. Before joining Hamline's faculty, Dr. Schaefer worked for the Fourth Judicial District as a research analyst, and prior to completing graduate school, she worked for Hennepin County Community Corrections as a juvenile correctional officer, and later as a transitional case manager working with youth reentering the community after a period of confinement. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's Degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota, and received her PhD from the University of Minnesota in sociology with a focus in criminology. While in graduate school, she was the Director of Minnesota Exits and Entries Project, and co-PI on a research project focusing on juvenile reentry initiatives. She has co-authored articles related to policy changes in the juvenile justice system, and juvenile reentry. Dr. Schaefer was recently awarded, along with colleague Dr. Gina Erickson, a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) grant for their project titled, "The Impact of Juvenile Correctional Confinement on the Transition to Adulthood and Desistance from Crime". 

    Professor Schaefer teaches Crime and Justice in America, Juvenile Delinquency/Juvenile Justice, Punishment, Corrections and Society, and Crime Policy Evaluation.

    Teaching Style

    Professor Schaefer’s teaching style focuses on high-impact learning. Students are challenged to understand how theory relates to current criminal justice and correctional policy while also learning to analyze and become savvy consumers of empirical research in the field of criminology. With a solid foundation of theory, Professor Schaefer applies the course content to practical experience utilizing numerous venues such as documentaries, guest lecturers from practitioners in the field, and moving outside the classroom by visiting local detention and correctional facilities. Professor Schaefer structures her courses to include both small group and large group discussion, along with reflection of the material through speaking and writing.

    “One of my favorite things about teaching is hearing from a student that the material we are covering in the course challenges and/or supports their previous knowledge of the subject matter. My goal as a Professor is to provide a strong social science perspective to the study of criminology, and to ensure graduates from our department are able to apply theory and empirical research to their professional aspirations. In the words of Blumer, I see my role as a Professor, ‘not as the person who comes into town and challenges the system, proposing radical action or change, but as the one who asks the questions that lead others to reflect on the situation and change its definition’.”

    - Shelly Schaefer