Cynthia Lum named University Professor

by Anne Reynolds

Cynthia Lum named University Professor

Cynthia Lum, professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society, and director of Mason’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, has been named a George Mason University Professor. Nominated by Provost Mark Ginsberg, Lum’s status was approved by the university’s Board of Visitors at their July 30, 2021, meeting.

George Mason University Professors are current members of the faculty who have a great national or international reputation whose substantial research, scholarship, or arts credentials have set them apart. Along with Endowed Chairs, the title of University Professor is the highest academic rank bestowed on members of Mason faculty, said Ginsburg in his nomination letter.  

Lum is the director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy and a leading authority on evidence-based policing, an approach that advocates for research, evaluation, and scientific processes informing law enforcement policymaking and practice. She has studied and written extensively about patrol operations and police crime prevention activities, police technology, investigations and detective work, and evidence-based crime policy. Additionally, she has developed numerous tools and strategies to translate and institutionalize research into everyday law enforcement operations.

Her accolades and contributions to the field of criminology are many. Lum received the 2020 State Council for Higher Education in Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award and the 2017 George Mason University Williams Presidential Medal for Excellence in Social Impact.

Lum is an elected Fellow of the American Society of Criminology (ASC). She is an appointed member of the Committee on Law and Justice for the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) and has also served on the NAS’s Committee on Proactive Policing as well as its Standing Committee on Traffic Law Enforcement. She is an appointed member of the Council on Criminal Justice's Policing Task Force, a Board Director for the National Police Foundation, a member of the Research Advisory Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Lum has served numerous elected and appointed positions within the ASC. She is the founding editor of Translational Criminology Magazine and the Springer Series on Translational Criminology, and was the first North American editor for the Oxford Journal Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice. Lum is a Fulbright Specialist in policing and criminology and is the co-director of the International Summer School for Policing Scholarship, developed with colleagues at the Scottish Institute for Policing Research and Arizona State University. 

Lum’s recent book with Mason associate criminology professor Christopher Koper, Evidence-Based Policing: Translating Research Into Practice (Oxford University Press), received the American Society of Criminology Division of Policing 2020 Outstanding Book Award. Lum and Koper are the Editors-In-Chief of Criminology and Public Policy, the flagship policy journal of the American Society of Criminology.  

In the Board’s vote to approve Lum’s status as a University Professor, Provost Ginsberg introduced her as “one of the most distinguished criminologists in the world.”

“Professor Lum’s approach to policing brings scientific process, intelligent observation, and critical thinking to the profession of law enforcement,” said Dean Ann Ardis. “She is able to use her direct, lived experience and high-quality research to inform her scholarship on policing, creating knowledge that is immediately useful to law enforcement agencies. Her scholarship addresses vital questions on how policing can best work for the communities it serves.”

Professor James Willis, chair of the Department of Criminology, Law and Society, agrees. “Cynthia Lum is a remarkable scholar, teacher, and administrator,” he said. “If she were an Olympian (to make a timely analogy), I imagine her to be a heptathlete – simply extraordinary at many events. Professor Lum is a pioneer of evidence-based policing, tirelessly producing high quality science to advance fair and effective criminal justice policies and practices. Inside and outside of the classroom, she pushes students, policymakers, and practitioners to think critically and creatively, and she provides unfailing and generous support to help them achieve their goals. Finally, as director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy and as professor of Criminology, Law and Society (CLS), she has been central to increasing the status of the department, college, and George Mason University. She is without question highly deserving of the distinction of University Professor. I congratulate Professor Lum on this accomplishment, on behalf of all the faculty, staff, and students in CLS. Her actions help elevate us all.”