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UofGH's Dr. Glenn Hanna named to Alpha Phi Sigma's Executive Advisory Board

Glenn Hanna

My election is an acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication put into the UofGH chapter by our students.

Dr. Glenn Hanna, Assistant Program Head of Justice Studies at the University of Guelph-Humber, has been elected to the Executive Advisory Board of Alpha Phi Sigma, an international criminal justice honour society with more than 550 chapters around the world.

Alpha Phi Sigma is a global fraternity established in 1942 with the mandate to identify justice-related problems and seek solutions for them. 

It was five years ago that Dr. Hanna served as founding faculty advisor as the University of Guelph-Humber became just the second Canadian chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma. His two-year term to the Executive Advisory Board began April 1.

Appointments to the Board are made by votes of all chapters of the society. Dr. Hanna was grateful for that support, but credited the University of Guelph-Humber’s enthusiastic students for the chapter’s success.

“My election is an acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication put into the UofGH chapter by our students. It is their work that has raised the profile of UofGH within Alpha Phi Sigma,” Dr. Hanna said.

“I will now work over the next two years with the other members of the Executive Advisory Board to help advance the goals of Alpha Phi Sigma. My goal is to emulate the UofGH experience and to promote student leadership and academic excellence in all we do.”

A chapter’s opening

When it comes to the creation of the Alpha Phi Sigma chapter at the University of Guelph-Humber, Dr. Hanna again says the movement was student-driven.

Some UofGH students who had been involved in creating several community and University events were concerned that the initiatives might not live on after graduation. D. Hanna was approached by students to see if UofGH could help create a framework that could help keep their initiatives going after they graduated.

“After some research, I found Alpha Phi Sigma.  It seemed like a perfect match – an honour society for criminal justice students designed to promote academic excellence, service, leadership, and unity,” he recalled. 

“Our experience at UofGH has been very positive. Our chapter has retained its student-led nature and we have received great support from Student Life at UofGH.”

Membership in UofGH’s Alpha Phi Sigma has also grown tremendously since then. Under the umbrella of Alpha Phi Sigma, students at the University of Guelph-Humber created partnerships with organizations including Innocence Canada and Amnesty International. They have organized student visits to jails, police services, and the courts. They have hosted many guest speakers, bringing a wide range of voices and subject matter experts into the institution.

“All of this activity has been proposed, planned, and executed by students — with very minimal involvement from faculty or staff,” Dr. Hanna said, noting that the students’ activities also earn them recognition upon graduation through entries in an official co-curricular record.

“The activities of the chapter have provided a wide range of practical leadership opportunities for students, including research, logistics, communications, evaluations, conflict resolution, organizational change and behaviour, strategic planning, and decision making. Students are also engaged with social justice and systemic justice issues outside the classroom.”

An educational philosophy

Dr. Hanna’s research interests are in organizational leadership and behaviour. He has been published internationally and regularly presents his research; most recently, he presented “The impact of experiential learning in higher education: A case study on the Alpha Phi Sigma criminal justice chapter at the University of Guelph-Humber” in Lisbon, Portugal.

Prior to post-secondary life, Dr. Hanna was a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, serving in uniformed duties, isolated arctic postings, undercover, organized crime, national security investigations, and senior command positions. He’s received several Canadian and American awards for work on organized crime and community-based policing.

Students who have taken on leadership roles in Alpha Phi Sigma say that Dr. Hanna’s leadership philosophy – where students lead and are free to make decisions within boundaries set by law and policy – has empowered them.

“Glenn Hanna approaches Alpha Phi Sigma differently than most chapters,” said Dalton Beseau, recent president of UofGH’s Alpha Phi Sigma chapter. “He allows the students to run the society – plan the events, choose the membership – which is significant as it provides them with the opportunity to problem solve and to communicate through those problems so that in the future, we no longer make such mistakes. His support is consistent and unwavering and he always seeks to ensure that whatever we need, he is available and willing to help. All of us look up to him as a guide and mentor and we thank him for everything he does.”

“Glenn was a great person to have in an advisory capacity because he gave a lot of freedom to the students but you always knew that if you had any hiccups or issues that you ran into or needed a bit of faculty support, he was always there,” added Justice Studies alumni Emma Kelly. “He was very a reliable and helpful person to have supporting Alpha Phi Sigma. He really advocated for Alpha Phi Sigma and promoted it to students.

“I think one of the reasons it grew to become so popular at UofGH was his involvement in it. Students – with good reason – really respect Dr. Hanna.”