Following in the footsteps of his illustrious namesake President Richard Nixon – who is credited with normalizing relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China in 1972 – FDU Professor Kirk Nixon spent the first half of the Fall 2014 semester teaching in China.
From September through October, Nixon taught a course on The Politics of Crime at the Chengdu American Center for Study Abroad. The course focused on political influences that directly and indirectly affect criminal legislation, enforcement and remediation of crime in both the United States and China.
“Students who study abroad are better prepared for a global, multicultural work environment. China is the world’s second largest economy andmost populous nation. No matter what field of study they are in, experiencing and learning about China’s culture can help students enhance their career opportunities,” said Nixon.
Nixon also served as FDU’s faculty-in-residence for the first half of the semester, meeting regularly with students enrolled in the Chengdu Center, which is operated by FDU in partnership with American University, Merrimack College, Norwich University, Concordia University (Chicago), and Global Maximum Educational Opportunities, Inc. The center opened in 2012 and is located on the campus of Sichuan University in Chengdu, China.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Nixon also helped organize a public seminar about China’s criminal justice framework. Co-hosted by the Chengdu American Center for Study Abroad and Sichuan Equity Law Firm, the objective of the seminar was to provide a general overview, as well as an exchange of knowledge, of the criminal justice practices in the U.S. and China.
Four speakers presented on various topics related to criminal justice in the U.S. and China including the development of law, crime trends, the judicial process, and others. In addition to Nixon, speakers included Professor Han Xu, Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences, Mr. Luo Ning of the Sichuan Equity Law Firm,and Professor Rongjie Lan of the Southwest University of Finance and Economics.
This was Nixon’s first trip to China andhe shared with his students some new experiences, as well as some challenges. ”The Chinese people are extremely friendly and welcoming, however, the language barrier presented a real challenge. Luckily, the Chengdu American Centerstaff areall fluent in English and available 24/7 to assiststudents with any problems which arise. Additionally, an optional Mandarin course is offered for college credit at the university which quickly results in a basic means of local communication,”said Nixon.
The overall experience is life changing and students will remember it all their lives. It is a unique opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge about one of the oldest civilizations in the world,” he added.
Before coming to FDU as an adjunct professor of criminal justice, Professor Nixon worked for 38 years in a number of increasingly responsible positions for the Superior Court of New Jersey and in the field of criminal justice. In 2005,he was promoted to Trial Court Administrator. In this position he was responsible for the supervision of over 500 employees and the processing of 72,000 annual court filings handled by 26 Superior Court judges in the nine divisions of court. His responsibilities also included oversight of the 16 municipal courts and staff within his court district.
Professor Nixon served on the Administrative Council of the Superior Court of New Jersey and was the Chairperson of the state’s Court Management Committee. As a subject matter expert on court administration, he developed and taught numerous workshops and training programs for the judges and staff of the courts.