Exploring the impact of victim policy, wrongful convictions and genocide
Colleague spotlight | Dr Linda Asquith
I am the Course Director for the BA (Hons) Criminology course. I have worked in universities for the past 15 years, and I am particularly interested in victim policy, wrongful convictions and genocide.
Tell us a bit about you and what led you to working with School of Social Sciences
I started my undergraduate degree in 2000, as a mature student. I loved studying, but as the first in my family to go to university I had no idea about how everything worked, and it took me a while to settle in. I spent two months wandering around campus looking for a specific building, until someone told me that was the name of the virtual learning environment!
After university, I knew I wanted to teach, so I completed a PGCE and then spent three years teaching at a secondary school. I soon realised I missed the studying and research element of my degree, so I left my teaching role and began a PhD at Huddersfield University, exploring life after genocide, and was awarded my PhD in 2015. As well as studying for a PhD, I worked as a lecturer in criminology at Leeds University and Nottingham Trent University.
I joined Leeds Beckett just after I was awarded my PhD, in July 2015, and began working as a senior lecturer in criminology. I then took over as Course Leader in 2017 and was appointed Course Director in 2018.
What makes you passionate about your work around crime and victimisation and why is it important?
I think I have the best job because I get to research and find out new ideas, and then have an opportunity to tell my students about those ideas. I love the fact that my job is so varied; one day I can be talking about police powers, the next about the Nazi genocide.
I am privileged that I get to work with colleagues who are interested in so many different areas of crime and victimisation, and with students who are eager to learn and understand more about crime and criminology. As a course director, I get to see the bigger picture, and see the progression of students from freshers through to graduation, and I always feel like a proud parent when I see all ‘my’ students walking across the stage to collect their degrees.
How is collaboration integral to your work, and what are one or two collaborations that have been most meaningful to you?
Collaboration is invaluable to me. Our degree would not run without the collaboration of everyone involved – academic staff, administrators, students, estates, timetabling; there is a huge team involved in delivering a degree!
One of my favourite elements of collaboration is working with dissertation students. Being able to work one-to-one with students in creating a piece of research is huge fun, and I get to know my dissertation students well. We go on a journey together, our initial steps hesitant as we get to know each other and start planning the work, through the ups and downs of third year and finally submitting the work. Students go through a huge change throughout their degree, but especially their third year, and I learn something new from each student I supervise.
What achievements in this area have you been most proud of while working in School of Social Sciences
Aside from the pride in having seen over a thousand Leeds Beckett students graduate and go on to do brilliant things in their careers and lives, I am exceptionally proud of the work that goes on in our Learning Together programme and our Cold Case units.
The Learning Together programme takes students from our third year into prison, and they learn about the nature of imprisonment, crime and justice alongside serving prisoners. This programme challenges students from both Leeds Beckett and the prison, getting them to work collaboratively to produce their assessments.
The Cold Case unit reviews investigations into people who have been missing for several years, in the hope of reuniting families. Our students work as a team with law enforcement, other educational institutions and Locate International, a community interest company who help families of unsolved missing person cases. In both projects, our students take on additional responsibility beyond their studies and step outside their comfort zones. They are ambassadors for our course and our university, and I am proud of both the students and our colleagues who go above and beyond in supporting our students.