The Columbian home page

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

CC professors pen new textbooks

By Sangmin Lee

The sixth edition of “Criminal Investigation: Art and the Science” written by Dr. Michael Lyman, professor of criminal justice, was recently published on Jan. 21. Dr. Lisa Ford-Brown, associate professor of speech, is working on her first book, “The DK Public Speaking Handbook,” which will be published in 2011.

“Criminal Investigation: Art and the Science” is about criminal investigation techniques. It is published in color, so it shows pictures in detail. The sixth edition of “Criminal Investigation: Art and the Science” is used for day, evening and online courses. It also has been adopted by police departments around the country as a training guide for officers and as required reading for police promotional exams. The fifth edition has been used at the Day Campus for the criminal justice course Police in a Democratic Society.

Lyman said, “Some people argue that the professor shouldn’t use the books he has written because the topic is according to him.” He said there is no editorializing in any of his books; rather, his books are compilations of professional and academic research that he organized.

Lyman mentioned some advantages of using his book for his class. First, the major advantage is that he knows the books. In addition, he can get feedback about the books from students as he uses his book for classes.

This is Lyman’s seventh textbook since his first opportunity to write a book while teaching at the University of Oklahoma. He taught a class about drug trafficking. No other book covered the political, social and economic aspects of it, so he wrote his first book—“Narcotics and Crime Control,” in 1987.

Ford-Brown’s book, “The DK Public Speaking Handbook” will be an introduction to public speaking textbook. Like Lyman’s, it will be a very visual textbook. Ford-Brown said young people today are more visually oriented, so it will be an interesting book for the students. Ford-Brown intends to use the book for her class, Introduction to Speech, and it is also expected to be used for public speaking courses nationwide.

Ford-Brown mentioned the advantages that she expects. Because the book is an outline for the way she teaches the entire semester, it will be helpful in teaching the course. Ford-Brown said, “I will enjoy using it because it is the first time that I have a book that teaches the course the way I teach it.” She also said using her book for the class made her come up with current events or different examples she wouldn’t have considered before.

For Ford-Brown, who has been teaching speech classes since 1985, this is the first time that she has written a textbook. Ford-Brown said Pearson Publishing asked her to participate in a workshop with 12 other college professors from across the country in November 2009 to discuss an idea for a new textbook. She thought it would be interesting and spark new excitement in her, so she told the publisher she was interested in working on the book. They asked her to write two trial chapters, and Ford-Brown was offered the contract.

This has been a great experience for Ford-Brown. “I thought I knew everything that I needed to know about teaching public speaking, but while I’m writing the book, I’ve learned so much about better ways to teach this course,” Ford-Brown said.

Lyman said that the most important thing for writing good textbooks is making sure they reflect the latest research and statistics. Ford-Brown said the most important thing is to write about what you love and are passionate about. “If you are not writing about something you are passionate about, it’s really tough because writing is lonely,” Ford-Brown said.

Both professors said the most difficult thing about writing books is finding time to do it. Ford-Brown said that as a full-time professor, it is difficult to find time to write a textbook at the same time. “You have to be disciplined and be willing to give up your personal life. You have to have time management skills,” Ford-Brown said.

Photo: Dr. Michael Lyman and Dr. Lisa Ford-Brown.
Photos by Michael Lyman and Sangmin Lee.

No comments: