Lauren O. Shermer

Lauren O. Shermer, PhD

  • Professor

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, Criminology & Criminal Justice (2007)
    University of Maryland-College Park (MD)
  • MA, Criminology & Criminal Justice (2005)
    University of Maryland-College Park  (MD)
  • BS, Law & Justice (2002)
    The College of New Jersey (NJ)

About Me

I received my undergraduate degree in law and justice from The College of New Jersey before completing my masters degree and PhD in criminology and criminal justice at University of Maryland, College Park. I also have work experience as a criminal defense investigator and performing background investigations for the federal government.

I have a wide range of teaching and research interests within the discipline of criminal justice and enjoy sharing these interests with undergraduate and graduate students. I once heard someone say that teachers should teach for the lifetime, not for the moment. Since hearing that phrase, I have embraced it as my teaching philosophy.

While teaching students the criminal justice curriculum is an obvious component of my job, I also feel that it is my responsibility to link the textbook knowledge to the real world and help students attain skills that will benefit them regardless of their path after college, skills they need for their lifetime. For this reason, my classes include writing, public speaking, and critical thinking. I also feel strongly about the value of experiential learning for helping students better understand material and figure out their career aspirations.

Research Interests

I have research interests across many avenues of criminal justice. Some of my more recent interests are within the areas of eyewitness reliability and prison experiences. I also continue to research peer processes and how one's friends in adolescence shape outcomes later in life. In addition, I am involved in pedagogical research on how certain educational strategies influence student attitudes and outcomes.


  • Shermer, L.O., Bierie, D.M., & Stock, A. (2013). Decomposing risk: Endogeneity in prison risk classification. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 57(10), 1248–1274.
  • Shermer, L.O., Rose, K.C., & Hoffman, A. (2011). Perceptions and credibility: Understanding the nuances of eyewitness testimony. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 27(2), 183–203.
  • Shermer, L.O., & Johnson, B.D. (2010). Criminal prosecutions: Examining prosecutorial discretion and charge reductions in U.S. federal district courts. Justice Quarterly, 27(3), 394–430.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

American Society of Criminology (ASC), Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS)


  • Faculty Development Grant, Widener University, Funding for research (2009 & 2015)
  • Provost Grant, Widener University- Funding for research (2013)
  • Academic Service Learning Fellowship, Widener University (2010)



  • Lauren Shermer Named New Widener University Program Director for Project Pericles

    Lauren Shermer, professor of criminal justice, has been named the new Widener University Program Director for Project Pericles effective January 2024. Project Pericles is a national consortium of 29 member colleges and universities that promotes civic engagement in higher education of which Widener has been a member for nearly two decades.

    Shermer looks forward to growing Project Pericles engagement with faculty, staff, students, and community partners. She was named a Periclean Faculty Leader in 2021 and has presented at two Project Pericles conferences held in the last year. Shermer brings a deep commitment to civic engagement to this role.

    This role was formerly held by Associate Dean of Social Sciences James Vike, who has been a leading member of Project Pericles at Widener since 2005. 

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  • Criminal Justice Signs Agreement with Municipal Police Academy

    Widener University’s Department of Criminal Justice has signed an agreement with the Municipal Police Academy at Delaware County Community College to expand opportunities for Widener criminal justice undergraduates. 

    The agreement will allow students to take one semester of their junior year and study at the Municipal Police Academy before returning to Widener to complete their degrees and be ready for immediate hiring after graduation. 

    Students who participate in this program will leave the Municipal Police Academy having completed their Act 120 basic training, which is required for all municipal police officers in Pennsylvania. Once this training is completed, students are eligible for work as police officers in the state.

    “We are so excited about this partnership,” said Professor of Criminal Justice Lauren Shermer. “Students often ask what they can do to set themselves apart from others, and this is such a great opportunity for our students who want to pursue law enforcement to be immediately employable upon graduation.”

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