The College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) Outstanding Researcher Award recognizes individuals who have conducted research at an outstanding level among peers in the college. The applicants must be tenured faculty members currently engaged in an active research agenda. The applicant must have been at Illinois State University for a minimum of three academic years prior to nomination.

Cara Rabe-Hemp joined the Department of Criminal Justice Sciences in 2005 as an assistant professor. She received her doctorate from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2006. She earned early promotion to associate professor in 2010 and was granted tenure in 2011. In 2015, Rabe-Hemp was promoted to full professor. In 2010, Rabe-Hemp received the University Research Initiative Award, and in 2014 she was inducted into the College of Applied Sciences and Technology Academy of Achievement. More information about Rabe-Hemp and her research can be found on the Criminal Justice Sciences website.

The strength of Rabe-Hemp’s record rests in the fact that it conveys an independent and significant contribution to the field, which impacts the discipline and practice in the field. Rabe-Hemp’s area of research is focused in policing; specifically, she is interested in how diversity in policing affects police behavior, as well as opportunities in the field.

She has been extremely successful in publishing her work. Her research has informed the existing body of literature by examining female officers’ experiences in rural departments, career paths of women in police organizations, and women’s survivability in traditionally male dominated organizations. Recently she has signed book contracts with two publishing houses to deliver books later this year: Thriving in an All Boys Club: Female Police Officers and their Fight for Equity (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers), and Corruption, Discretion and Accountability (Emerald Group Publishing).

Rabe-Hemp currently has a total of 38 publications: 17 peer-reviewed journal articles, one single-authored book manuscript, eight refereed book chapters, seven refereed encyclopedia entries, one book review, and four miscellaneous publications. Furthermore, she has three articles currently under review and several in progress. She has demonstrated her credibility as a scholar in her own right—having eight single authored articles or book chapters. In addition, she is committed to mentoring others through the scholarship process, routinely publishing with students and junior colleagues.

What is perhaps even more impressive is the outlets for her work. Feminist Criminology, Police Quarterly, and Policing are the most prestigious journals in which her research could appear, and she managed to start her publication career in these journals as an assistant professor and continues to publish there today. Many criminologists never appear in these journals.

Even more important is that her work is influencing hiring practices of police agencies and informing the public regarding the importance of a diverse workforce. Rabe-Hemp’s work on the socialization and integration of women into police organizations will no doubt shape policy for years to come. This year alone, she has been interviewed by the Washington Post, Newsweek, The Christian Science Monitor, along with many other national and regional news sources. Recently, Rabe-Hemp’s work was listed in the RAND Corporation’s “Best practices” website for recruiting and retaining quality police officers, was featured in Wiley’s International Women’s Day Research selections, and cited in the Police Chief Magazine’s article on “Overcoming Tokenism and Gender Barriers.”

Rabe-Hemp’s work in diversity and policing has gained national recognition because it highlights the advantages of a diverse workforce for the officers, departments, and the communities they serve, as well as the issues that under-represented groups face in the workplace.