James R. McDonald is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science at Southern Wesleyan University and has been a member of the SWU faculty since 2012. He earned a Master of Public Administration from Clemson University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Furman University.
Prior to joining the SWU faculty, Professor McDonald’s career spanned more than 18 years in the criminal justice system, in which he worked as a forensic scientist, crime lab director, and jail administrator. He also taught for seven years at Greenville Technical College before becoming the program coordinator for the criminal justice program at Southern Wesleyan University.
Professor McDonald teaches classes ranging from fingerprint analysis to firearms to fitness for criminal justice, a course that he developed to prepare students for the physical challenges they will encounter on the streets. His passion for teaching criminal justice at SWU has helped drive more than 700% growth in the program over the past five years. Professor McDonald also spearheaded the creation of SWU’s Criminal Justice House, where students can investigate mock crime scenes for forensic evidence.
Professor McDonald often tells others that he has been blessed with the opportunity to spend a significant portion of his life in public service, particularly in the areas of forensics and corrections: “I love being here. It’s like being paid to eat ice cream,” he says, adding that “his vision for the field of Criminal Justice is the impact that godly men and women who graduate from SWU will make.”