Welcome to the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice

The department offers bachelors programs through the College of Arts and Sciences and the Honors College, and a Master of Arts in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy.

The study of crime and justice is complex as researchers, practitioners, and policy makers tackle issues of policing strategies, corrections, capital punishment, violence, gangs, addiction, and international crime. The University of Memphis emphasizes research, scholarship, service and community outreach.

Our faculty provides outstanding instruction on the causes of crime, intervention strategies, program evaluation and issues of social justice. Members of our faculty have received national recognition for their work, obtained a wide range of research grants, engaged in national and international outreach and service, and have won a number of teaching and advising awards at the University.


Lenard Wells

I am saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Lenard Wells on Saturday, March 21, 2020.

During his tenure at the University of Memphis as an instructor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Dr. Wells touched the lives of many students. He was well known for his compassion and dedication to the impartation of knowledge and providing guidance to his students regarding their future careers and life. 

Dr. Wells was an insightful instructor, a researcher and a supportive colleague in the department. Many students benefited from his leadership as he worked tirelessly in creating the ”Mock Crime Scene” and perfecting the “Mock Law Enforcement Interview Board.” It was a rarity not to observe students in his office seeking his sage advice.

Dr. Wells began his career with the University of Memphis in 2013 as an instructor of criminal justice. Prior to his arrival at the University, he was appointed by then Gov. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin to serve as the Parole Board Chief. Dr. Wells was also a retired lieutenant with the Milwaukee Police Department after an illustrious 30-year career.

His untimely passing will leave an indelible void for some time to come. He will be sorely missed by his family, students and colleagues.


KB Turner, Chair, Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice