Faculty Focus: Robert Dean

Robert Dean's Students Experience Real-Life "Law and Order" in the Classroom

By Stacey |   August 2010

Robert Dean , Faculty

Criminal Justice
School of Undergraduate Studies

Veteran prosecutor Robert Dean, JD, brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to his criminal justice classes at UMUC. As a prosecutor for the state of Maryland for more than 27 years and now as an international prosecutor in Kosovo, Dean has plenty of real-life case studies to share with his students.

Bridging the gap between textbook knowledge and how it can be used in the "real world" is the basis for Dean's classes. Whether it's re-enacting one of his real-life cases or debating how legal principles apply to the Constitution, Dean keeps his students on their toes. "I love being challenged by my students and arguing about how the law should or could be applied to certain situations," says Dean.

Dean's love for the field of criminal justice began while serving as a law clerk for a circuit court judge in Rockville, Maryland. It was then that he became hooked. He assisted with many criminal cases and says that he found himself fascinated by juries and their deliberations. Dean was so impressed by the hard work of the prosecutors, defense counsel and police that he knew this was the line of work he wanted to pursue.

Shortly after his clerkship, Dean began his 27-year career as a prosecutor for the state of Maryland. During this time he was involved with hundreds of criminal investigations and trials. You may have even seen some of the murder mysteries he has investigated on the documentary television show Crime Files.

It was only by chance that Dean came to teach at UMUC. In 1990 a colleague mentioned a need for a criminal justice professor at UMUC. "I thought it would be interesting. I applied and was lucky enough to be given the class," says Dean. Becoming a professor seemed like a natural fit for Dean as both of his parents were teachers. Dean says he has had a wonderful time teaching at UMUC.

Dean has served as a strong advocate for the criminal justice program during his 15 years of teaching at UMUC. "I receive great pleasure in inspiring students to take a career path in criminal justice," says Dean. During his professorship, he developed his own course that is still being taught at UMUC. He has also helped to develop some of the online criminal justice courses.

Dean is an accomplished prosecutor who loves practicing and teaching law. It's no surprise that Dean has expanded his career to include international law. He is currently enjoying enriching his global perspective in the field as an international prosecutor for the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Dean also serves as acting director of UNMIK's Department of Justice.

Although Dean has recently been unable to teach due to his overseas deployment, he says that hopes to get back to a more regular teaching schedule in the near future. And when he does, he will have even more to share with his criminal justice students.