Nancy La Vigne delivers 2024 Mastrofski Lecture

Nancy La Vigne delivers 2024 Mastrofski Lecture
La Vigne delivers remarks entitled "Public Criminology: Charting the Course to Bridge Evidence to Action."

On February 26, National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Director Nancy La Vigne addressed George Mason University students, faculty and staff at this year’s Mastrofski Lecture, an annual event that honors Emeritus Professor Stephen Mastrofski, the first chair of Mason’s Department of Criminology, Law and Society (CLS). Each year, CLS invites a distinguished guest who has a long and distinguished record of scholarly achievement and/or public service to deliver remarks.

La Vigne was appointed in 2022 by President Biden to be the director of NIJ, where she leads the Justice Department’s research, technology and evaluation agency, overseeing a wide array of social science research projects, technology initiatives and forensic activities focused on improving public safety and ensuring the fairness and effectiveness of the justice system.

La Vigne’s remarks, entitled "Public Criminology: Charting the Course to Bridge Evidence to Action,” focused on five key questions critical to bridging evidence to action: what works, what type of knowledge do we need, how do we go about learning what we need to know, how do we use evidence to drive change, and what does this mean for the future of criminology as a discipline.

La Vigne noted that storytelling is crucial driving evidence-based change and said George Mason University has been a leader when it comes to using evidence-based research to drive change.

Allison Redlich, distinguished university professor and associate chair of CLS asked La Vinge to share her advice with current and prospective CLS students. La Vigne replied: "Keep an open mind. Be curious about everything. Used mixed methods. And don’t choose silos; you can’t see the whole context that way. Understanding different perspectives leads to more credible research."  

Photo above: David Weisburd, distinguished professor of Criminology, Law and Society and executive director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy; Stephen Mastrofski, professor emeritus in Criminology, Law and Society; Nancy La Vigne, director of the National Institute of Justice; and Laurie O. Robinson, Clarence J. Robinson professor emerita of Criminology, Law and Society