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Daniel Butler joins the Department of Sociology as an assistant professor

Daniel ButlerDaniel Butler, assistant professor of sociology in criminal justice studies, joined Iowa State’s sociology department this fall. Butler previously was a faculty member at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas. Butler holds a Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Nebraska—Omaha, a master’s in criminal justice and a bachelor’s in administration of justice from the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg.

Butler is eager to mentor students in Iowa State’s criminal justice studies program, an endeavor he started at Sam Houston State University and for which he won an outstanding teaching award.

“I look forward to mentoring students here at Iowa State, and showing them that research is not just sitting at a desk all day,” Butler said. “I also want to try and dispel some of the myths about academia and get more students interested in going to graduate school.”

This semester, Butler is teaching Criminology 342, where he is impressed with his students.

“They seem to be interested in current events about how to make the justice system more equitable. That’s a big deal,” he said.

Butler hopes students walk away from his class with a greater sense of critical thinking, and to learn how to think for themselves.

“One of the important skills while in college is to critically think, and that includes the material that they see on the internet or the material they read,” Butler said. “I also challenge my students to question what I tell them as well.”

In addition to teaching and mentoring students, Butler is researching data related to experiences prisoners face while incarcerated. He’s in the process of writing and seeking publication of some papers related to this data. In addition, Butler currently is examining data that he collected from more than 300 interviews with Texas correctional officers related to job stress.

Beyond teaching and research, Butler enjoys exploring his new community of Ames—especially the parks—with his wife, two young daughters and two goldendoodles.