Profile: Bob Petersen, JD
Bob Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Charleston Southern University. He previously served as an Adjunct Professor at Charleston Southern and The Citadel. He holds a BA from Florida State University and a JD from the University of South Carolina. He is well known in the criminal justice field in South Carolina after a career spanning more than 35 years in corrections, including Correctional Officer, Classroom Teacher and Classification Specialist. He started his career in corrections in Florida as a Correctional Officer in the maximum security facility, Forida State Prison. He taught in the Close Management areas of the prison before moving to Classification at Brevard Correctional Institution. While attending law school, he was a Law Clerk in the General Counsel's Office of the South Carolina Department of Corrections. After graduating, he remained with the Agency, defending the SCDC and its employees in state and federal court including arguing successfully before the S.C. Supreme Court. He also represented the Agency before the State Employee Grievance Committee, ultimately serving as chair of the board. He became the Human Resources Director for the SCDC in 2007 and retired in 2010.
He has been a frequent speaker on correctional issues at conferences throughout the United States. He is a member of the American Correctional Association, the South Carolina Correctional Association and the Southern States Correctional Association. He was vice president of the South Carolina Correctional Association and serves on the Programs Committee and Scholarship Committees of that organization.
He sees his role in education as broadening students' view of corrections so that they see it as a viable career choice and a field of study as complex and satisfying as any other law enforcement specialty. He also actively attempts to place students in corrections and views part of his responsibilities as training the next generation of correctional specialists.
He is an advocate for educational opportunities for employed correctional staff, including online courses, recognizing the unique needs that balancing work, home, second jobs and shifts bring to employees. He speaks frequently with correctional employees about the advantages of advanced education and invites employees contemplating college to sit-in on his classes so they can realize that they are able to compete with younger students.