Northwest College

Teaching & Learning Center

Faculty spotlights

Learn more about what makes Northwest college’s faculty truly excellent! 

In collaboration with The Committee on Faculty Development and Morale and the office of College Relations, the TLC is excited to showcase the great work of Northwest College's educators! In this faculty spotlight series, we will feature members of our faculty that are recognized by nominations from their peers based on demonstrated excellence in teaching, mentoring/advising, service, or scholarship. Spotlights will also be promoted by the Marketing, Communications & Web office in a variety of media.

Dave Erickson

Posted: August 19, 2023

If there’s a patriarch of the Northwest College criminal justice program, then Dave Erickson would be that man. A faculty member since 1994, and chair of the Social Science and Education Division for 15 years, he added the title of Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs in the summer of 2023 while still teaching two of his regular classes. But laying the foundation for what is now NWC’s second B.A.S. program holds a special place in his heart.

Coming from the tiny farming community of Adams, North Dakota, Dave attended the University of North Dakota to study wildlife and fish biology but as a sophomore changed gears to double major in criminal justice and sociology. After graduating, he briefly considered law school before being approached by a UND faculty member with an offer of a teaching assistantship, free grad school tuition, and a stipend. That package allowed him to earn his M.A. in Sociology in 1993, and only a few months later he was hired as the lone professor of sociology at Northwest College.

Dave believes his bachelor’s in criminal justice studies was a key factor in landing that position at such a young age with very little teaching experience. The college was exploring the addition of a criminal justice degree and Dave’s background in that area made him a good fit, and a strong candidate to develop the program from the ground up. It began in humble fashion three years later with three courses designed to help students interested in the major transfer to the University of Wyoming.

Today, Dave has seen his “baby” grow to include two associate degrees, a certificate program, a Bachelor of Applied Science, and a separate A.A. in conservation law enforcement. In addition to building the early curriculum, he also had to bring in the right people to teach each new class, beginning with adjuncts and later full-time faculty. That level of work helped prepare him for the dual role he now has with the college, but his overarching goals really haven’t changed.

“My focus has always been on helping students and doing the best we can for them, and likewise creating good working relationships with all of the really great people that work across our campus.”