KOKOMO, Ind. — Beau Shine believes in second chances.
That belief informs his work as a criminal justice faculty member and scholar at Indiana University Kokomo, where he’s worked with area law enforcement agencies to improve functions of the jails and prosecutors’ offices, and to find real-world internship experiences for students.
His accomplishments have earned him recognition from the Indiana Campus Compact (ICC) as an Emerging Leader in Community Engagement. The award honors faculty and graduate teaching assistants from multiple ICC partner institutions who are in the first seven years of their career, who demonstrate leadership and innovation in advancing and shaping community engagement across the field.
He said while his name may be on the award, it also honors the people with whom he has collaborated.
“I’ve been very fortunate to work with the people I have at every level,” he said. “This award is largely recognizing my colleagues, faculty and staff members and administration on campus, and community practitioners who have put their trust in me and provided me with opportunities to improve and better our region.”
His work has included collaborating with Kelly Brown, chair of criminal justice and homeland security, to evaluate Tipton County’s pretrial bail reform system, to prioritize jail space for those who pose a risk to public safety. Other projects include advising Howard County probation and community corrections on evidence-based practices and collaborative research opportunities, and developing a Scholarship for the Public Good policy.
“My focus has always been on applied research, to try to make a tangible difference,” Shine said. “I want to be impactful, trying to do things in my region and on my campus to move the needle for the betterment of all populations involved.”
On campus, Shine also serves as internship coordinator for his department, building partnerships with area probation departments, community corrections, judges, and law enforcement officials, to provide students opportunities to learn in the field.
As a teacher, his goal is be a role model of how they can make an impact.
“How do you keep this kind of work moving? It’s through modeling to our students, so they can see the capacity they have to be able to make a difference in the community, through the progression of their careers, and take what they are learning to heart,” he said.
Shine chose the criminal justice field because of one of his community college professors, and planned to earn a master’s degree to be able to teach college classes in a prison. When federal funding for those programs was cut, a professor suggested he research how and why it could be restored.
“Education has always been a big deal to me, serving disadvantaged populations,” he said. “I like to focus on the glass being half full, and giving people second chances, especially non-violent offenders, to set them up for success in the future. You’re not going to punish your way out of the problems in the criminal justice system. Once you accept that, you can look at what we can do to improve, and what kind of reforms we can make.”
None of that work is done alone, he added.
“I keep reiterating how important the people around me have been, in particular Dean Eric Bain-Selbo and Kelly Brown, who have enabled me to do the work I do, partnered with me to do the work I do, and set me up for success,” he said. “The stars aligned for me. They say success equals preparation plus opportunity. The opportunity was already there for me. I’m appreciative of that. I realize the work I have done would be impossible if it weren’t for those other community players.”
He will receive the award in a virtual ceremony this month, hosted by ICC, a partnership among 44 Indiana colleges and universities, representing 70 campuses, dedicated to preparing college students to advance the public good in their communities.