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Visiting Scholar Spotlight

CallieCallie Marie Rennison, PhD 
By Kathryn Burnham

Dr. Rennison is a Professor, the Director of Equity, and Title IX Coordinator for the University of Colorado Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus. She earned her BS in Psychology, MA in Sociology, MA in Political Science, and PhD in Political Science from the University of Houston at University Park. Dr. Rennison’s work is quantitative in nature, focusing on campus victimization, measurement of crime data, and violence against marginalized groups including women, African Americans, American Indians, and Hispanics. Her extensive and far reaching work in this area led her to being awarded the 2016 Bonnie S. Fisher Victimology Career Award from the Division of Victimology in the American Society of Criminology. Dr. Rennison has worked as a researcher for the Bureau of Justice Statistics and worked as a Post-Doc Fellow for the National Consortium on Violence Research. She has authored and co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed articles, book and encyclopedia chapters. Additionally, she has co-authored four textbooks relating to research methods, criminal justice, and the psychology of violence. One of her more recent textbooks gained social media attention for the inclusion of Brock Turner in a section relating to information on rape. Dr. Rennison has brought in over $300,000 in grant money for a range of different projects across her career.  

Dr. Rennison agreed to allow me to interview her at the 2016 American Society of Criminology Conference in New Orleans, LA. She is a first-generation college student who was “unsure how one can choose a major when you haven’t tried everything!”. She spent her time in college cultivating her interest in learning, until she found her passion in sociology, psychology, gender, stratification, and statistics. She likened her approach to learning and education as “seeing a door and wondering what’s in there and going in and finding cool stuff that I could never imagine”.

Currently, Dr. Rennison is working on several journal articles and the Routledge International Handbook of Violence Studies, with Center Director Dr. Walter DeKeseredy. When asked where she sees her research going Dr. Rennison said that she likes to write journal articles, but a lot can be said for “big picture projects that brings people together”. Also, she wants to answer questions that she “thinks matter and can be used to change policy and make peoples’ lives a little better”.

In every interview, we generally like to ask our interviewees what advice do you have for undergrad or graduate students? Dr. Rennison could not speak enough to the idea that undergrads or grad students should do what excites them. She said that she is “100% behind the idea of doing what you love”. More specifically relating to undergraduate students and grad students, Dr. Rennison had this to say:  

      “For undergrads, I think of how some professors treated me as an undergrad, and I try to do this        as a professor. Specifically, when I see a student who I know has promise, who likely has no idea        they have promise, I tell them that they should continue their studies. Often it changes everything        for that student like it did for me.” For a grad student getting ready to go out on the job market, if        you get a few job offers, go where you want to live…your work, no matter how much you love it, it        can never be your whole life.” 

As a first-generation student myself navigating academia, Dr. Rennison’s words and interview was a welcomed affirmation of my place in academia. She is down to earth, accomplished, and is truly dedicated to helping make the world better for people. The Research Center on Violence thanks Dr. Rennison for her continued effort as a research associate. You can learn more about Dr. Callie Rennison here.