Former Simpson professor pursues career with Intelligence Bureau in downtown Des Moines

Former Simpson professor pursues career with Intelligence Bureau in downtown Des Moines

Roxanne Ryan, former assistant professor of criminal justice, is now using her criminal justice experience to work for the Intelligence Bureau as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst.

Ryan’s job currently focuses on developing new ways to exchange information between law enforcement and non-law enforcement agencies.

In addition to the information sharing policy initiatives, she also assists police officers investigating crimes or suspected crimes and provides briefings to policy makers to help them understand what’s happening and why it matters.

Ryan said teaching helped her a lot with the job that she’s doing now.

“My time in teaching at Simpson has been very valuable in this job,” Ryan said. “The primary advantage of teaching is that it requires the professor to look at the big picture. It’s the perfect opportunity to see issues from many angles and to examine a lot of possible solutions.”

Though she views teaching as an asset to her current job, many things – like shorter deadlines – are a change.

“The biggest challenge in this job is in processing large amounts of information in order to make sense of it and share what’s pertinent with the people who need to know the information,” Ryan said. “In the electronic age, we have access to more information, more quickly than ever. One of the important lessons of the 9-11 attacks is that sharing information can provide the best warning of danger but only if the right people share the right information at the right time.”

Many people believe Ryan’s personality contributed to her success and popularity as a professor.

“She’s really a people person,” said Fred Jones, professor of social science and criminal justice and the chair of the Division of Education and Social Science. “Roxanne’s very knowledgeable, but she also has a very high social IQ.”

Ryan enjoyed working with students and teaching as much as the students loved learning from her.

“The thing I miss most about Simpson is the students,” Ryan said. “The emphasis on teaching at Simpson is what drew me there in the first place, and it’s what I enjoyed most about being there. Simpson is a very connected community, and I enjoyed getting to know the students, hearing their perceptions of the world around them and watching and helping them plan their future. … I also miss hearing about students’ hopes and dreams and plans for their lives. I loved watching students grow into adults who are ready to take on the world when they graduate.”

Ryan not only enjoyed teaching but would also make sure to time to help out with whatever anyone needed.

“Students loved Roxanne,” said Carolyn Dallinger, assistant professor of criminal justice and social work. “She had a way of making students and prospective students excited about Simpson and excited about the area of Criminal Justice.”

Ryan also served as a resource for criminal justice sources.

“She was a great resource to have around,” Dallinger said. “We would brainstorm together. She’s so knowledgeable about the criminal justice system.”

If things work out, Ryan plans to teach again at Simpson.

“I hope that I’ll be able to continue to teach at Simpson as an adjunct,” Ryan said. “The educational program at Simpson is excellent, and I would love to see more people get a master’s degree from such a good program. Those analytical skills are invaluable not just for the people who work as analysts but for the police investigators and the other criminal justice professionals. Criminal justice affects significant liberty and privacy interests, which are better protected when people have the depth and quality of education that Simpson provides.”