May 2, 2018
Dr. Eric Kocian, assistant professor of criminology, law and society in the Saint Vincent College School of Social Sciences, Communication and Education, was honored with the presentation of the Quentin Schaut Faculty Award at the Saint Vincent College Spring Honors Convocation on April 25 in Saint Vincent Basilica.
After serving as a United States Marine Corps Reservist in a military police unit, Kocian graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg with majors in psychology and administration of justice and a minor in Spanish. Kocian went on to earn a master’s degree and Ph.D. in criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
He has also pursued continuing education online at the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives at the University of Dayton. A former instructor at Slippery Rock University and IUP, he was formerly employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in new agent training. He is the co-author of several journal articles on criminology topics. He has completed military service with the United States Marine Corps Reserves.
“Kocian joined the Saint Vincent faculty in 2012 shortly after the College began the criminology, law and society program,” commented Dr. John Smetanka, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean. “His research, which involves many of his students, surveys recovering addicts to explore the root causes of opioid addiction in search of the most effective treatment and prevention programs. He and his team’s findings have generated significant interest from stakeholders around the nation. As a result of his work, Kocian has served as a consultant to the FBI, been interviewed by many media outlets including HBO films and has testified before the Pennsylvania Legislature.”
“Besides this important research, Kocian has spearheaded the revitalization of the ROTC program at Saint Vincent, works closely with veterans at the College and has served on the Educational Policy Committee,” Smetanka added. “In what spare time remains, Kocian is the director of religious education for Saint Bartholomew Parish.”
“The classroom showcases Kocian’s natural talents as a mentor and educator,” Smetanka continued. “Students point to his real-world examples, high expectations, passion, humor and care for his students. One student observed that, every day, Dr. Kocian takes time to ask each student how they are doing. Another student commented that not only have I learned a lot from him academically, he has also taught me how to be a better person. Finally, one student summed it up by saying, Dr. Kocian makes everyone feel involved and encourages them to reach their full potential.”
“In recognition of his exceptional teaching, insightful research in combating a regional and national crisis and the passion and care he shares with his students, Saint Vincent College is pleased to honor Dr. Eric Kocian with the 2018 Quentin Schaut Faculty Award,” Smetanka concluded.
The Quentin Schaut Award is named in honor of Fr. Quentin Schaut, O.S.B., a professor of English and the seventh president of the College – the first who was not simultaneously Archabbot. This award recognizes the contributions, leadership and achievements of a junior faculty member to the curriculum and life of the College.
“I am grateful to be teaching at such a wonderful institution as Saint Vincent College and am honored with this incredible award,” Kocian commented. “I thank God, my family and the many people who make Saint Vincent College the amazing place that it is.”
Photo: Dr. Eric Kocian, left, accepts the Quentin Schaut Faculty Award from Justin Hoffman, president of the Saint Vincent College Student Government Association Executive Board.