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Thomas Ward D.P.A.

Professor, Founder and Director of the graduate criminal justice leadership program

Brave men and women in the criminal justice field gallantly risk their lives to make the world a safer place. Students and faculty from St. John’s University's College of Professional Studies criminal justice program are no exception:

“St. John’s criminal justice students aim to serve their communities and are deeply committed to making our society more just, safer and consistent with the high ideals of the American justice system,” says Thomas Ward, D.P.A., Professor, Founder and Director of the graduate criminal justice leadership program in St. John’s College of Professional Studies.

As a former New York City police officer, Director of Public Safety at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Assistant Commissioner for the New York City Department of Correction, Dr. Ward brings over 40 years of criminal justice experience to St. John’s.
“I have previously taught at a number of colleges before joining St. John's, but there is something special about the criminal justice program here. I am very enthusiastic about leading this amazing program.”

From a young age, Dr. Ward says he idolized the police officers in his Brooklyn neighborhood and the relationships they built with the people living in his community, “They were very dedicated to helping people and safeguarding our neighborhood. They especially looked after local businesses, like my father’s. They became my role models.”

After graduating with an undergraduate degree in criminal justice from John Jay College, Dr. Ward says he was encouraged, by his former professor and mentor, to further his education and obtain his master’s and doctoral degrees from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Nova Southeastern University:

“The late Alexander B. Smith, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of John Jay College was the person who encouraged me to pursue my graduate degrees when I was a police officer with the NYPD. To this day, I try to emulate Dr. Smith and hope that someday my students will look back and have the same feelings about me that I still have for him.”

Dr. Ward is currently teaching several criminal justice courses including criminal justice ethics leadership and American correctional systems, and says it is a privilege to be in the classroom.

“My students enrich my life every day! I can unabashedly tell you that I have an absolute love of teaching; this is not a job to me, it's a vocation.”

Dr. Ward has received numerous honors and awards as both a criminal justice practitioner and as an academician. He is most proud of being the co-recipient of the Professor of the Year by Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and the H. Craig Collins Award  in recognition of his distinguished leadership in the criminal justice program at St. John’s University.

He is also a published author of the nonfiction book War Stories: Behind the Silver and Gold Shields – an introspective journey through New York City’s criminal justice system.

“Making a difference in someone’s life is what fulfills me the most. The relationship I have with my students creates this energizing force that is sometimes difficult to describe, but wonderful to experience.” If you are interested in this degree program, please contact Professor Ward.