Getting to Know Your SPA Professors: Sheila Huss

Connecting with your professors can benefit you in the classroom and beyond.  Read this series to dive deeper into the minds of our professors and get answers to some fun and interesting questions.    We asked professors to reflect on their career, advice for students, non-academic hobbies and interests.

20151222_181244Where does your passion/inspiration for your work come from? Is it why you entered your field?

My interactions with students and colleagues. I also love the discipline of criminology/criminal justice, so in this respect yes, it is why I entered the field. I have had a passion for crime and justice issues since I was young. That passion turned more scholarly and changed in some substantive ways (but also remained the same in others), but it hasn’t wavered.

 What do you know now that you wished you knew when you were entering grad school?

I think I have learned the importance of balance in my life and also of humility.


What’s your favorite quote?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”   –Teddy Roosevelt

What is your research/teaching philosophy?

Ha – I have a document of my teaching philosophy—it’s a few pages long! A few of the important parts…I view myself as a partner in student learning. The learning process should be creative, rigorous, engaging, and purposeful.


If you were not a professor, what would you be?

Doing death penalty abolition work or defending individuals accused of capital murder

What is your favorite non-academic reading/interests?

Almost anything outside – trail running (long distance, preferably), mountaineering, hiking, backpacking, camping, snow-shoeing. I love to travel and spend time with my husband and daughter. Watch sports and attend sporting events. I read for pleasure, not just ‘academic’ purposes. I am learning to orienteer (wilderness navigation) and planning to learn to ski, so those (hopefully) will become hobbies.

 What was your first concert?

I think it was called Club MTV – there were about 5 or 6 people/groups there. I remember Bell Biv De Voe, but not any of the other ones (I bet I just aged myself!)

Black Canyon 1

 Where have you lived outside of Colorado?

California, Pennsylvania (where I am from and spent most of my life), and Florida

What is your ideal vacation? Or where do you like to travel?

I love the mountains, so places with mountains to climb and/or trails to run/hike are my favorite places. I’ve been to a lot of national parks, and those trips are always great (when there aren’t huge crowds). I love to travel anywhere, though.

 What gets you up every morning? What keeps you up at night?

My alarm (it’s horrible and loud!) I’m an early riser – I get up early most mornings to run, and my commitment to my running or mountain-related goals make the 4:00 hour wake-ups worthwhile. Sometimes I am up late working, catching up on stuff (e-mails, usually), or hanging out with my husband.

Categories: Academics, Features

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