The Faculty

beth_otooleBeth O’Toole is in her 13th year as an Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at the University of Sioux Falls. Beth earned a BS in English from the University of South Dakota, a MA in Education Administration from USD, and her law degree (JD) from the University of South Dakota School of Law.

Beth’s leadership and vision have resulted in the unprecedented growth and success of the Criminal Justice program at USF. The Criminal Justice major is the fourth largest major on campus at the University of Sioux Falls. Beth has been instrumental in giving USF Criminal Justice students opportunities to take exciting courses, participate in national conferences, and engage in practical service-learning experiences.
Beth serves on the SD Council of Juvenile Services which helps establish policy and administer a federal grant through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Through her work with the CJS, she is also serving on the State's Disproportionate Minority Contact Committee and on the workgroup established for the Sioux Falls area to address the disproportionate number of minority youth encountered at various stages of the juvenile justice system. She also developed and oversees a partnership with Terry Redlin Elementary School which pairs USF students as mentors to elementary-aged students.  That partnership places approximately 100 students as mentors every year, and the Criminal Justice Program was named Lutheran Social Services’ Community Partner of the Year in 2005-2006 as a result of those efforts.  In addition to her work on juvenile justice issues, Beth actively works with her students to develop their research for presentation at the national level.  She has worked with 15 of her current and former students to develop research presentations at the Academy of Criminal Justice Science annual meetings. 
In addition to work on juvenile justice issues and service learning, Beth has pursued her own research interests in the area of capital punishment.  Her work has resulted in course development, speaking opportunities, student research opportunities, and ongoing collaboration with Kirk Bloodsworth, the first inmate in the U.S. to be exonerated using DNA evidence, and Dr. Matt Robinson, (Appalachian State University), and the author of “Death Nation.”  
Beth is married with two teenage daughters, two spoiled dogs and a turtle. In her free time, she enjoys choreographing musical theater productions for high school, college, and community organizations. This love of dance and theater is shared with her daughters, as well as passions for reading and traveling. The whole family gets to Hawaii as often as possible, and Beth is excited that she has been able offer courses and include students on six of those Hawaiian adventures!!

Michael Thompson
No information received.

Ryan Thornell is the newest member of the USF Criminal Justice faculty, joining the program’s faculty in Fall 2010 as an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice. Ryan is a USF alum, earning his BA in Criminal Justice and Sociology in 2007. He then attended graduate school at the University of Cincinnati, earning his MS in Criminal Justice in 2008.
In joining the faculty at USF, Ryan brings a passion and wealth of knowledge in corrections and criminology to the university and its program. He is currently developing new class offerings for students in these areas, including community corrections and rehabilitation, to offer students an in-depth knowledge of the field and prepare them for correctional occupations both locally and nationally. In addition, Ryan’s research interests also lie in the various aspects of corrections.
Ryan previously has worked in the administration of the South Dakota Parole Division, both with the Parole Board and Parole Services. He also has experience working in institutional corrections in South Dakota and Ohio. He has presented work at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences annual meetings several times.
Ryan and his wife Jessica (who also works at USF) have one young son, Jack, along with two dogs. In his free time, Ryan is an avid follower of the New Orleans Saints (as are Jess and Jack) and enjoys spending time with his family and reading. He is also preparing to attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D.

Kevin Grebin serves the University of Sioux Falls as the Director of Campus Security, a Criminal Justice faculty member, and Head Tennis Coach. Kevin graduated from USF in 1980 with a Bachelor’s degree in Education.  

After graduation, Kevin was a teacher at Colman, South Dakota from 1981-1983.   In 1984, Kevin started a long and successful career working for the South Dakota Highway Patrol.  Kevin worked for the SD Highway Patrol for 21 years! He is still a certified SD law enforcement officer, and currently works part-time for the Turner County Sheriff’s Department and Lennox Police Department.

Kevin’s family consists of his wife Deb (who is a 7th grade teacher), daughters Dani (recent USF Graduate) and Jayme (current USF student), and the family’s 2 Siberian Huskies, Kyra and Hercules. He is also a recent grandfather, his grandson Wyatt was born on 11/26/2010 to Dani and her husband John.
Kevin currently teaches Policing I and Policing II courses for the Criminal Justice Department at USF.

Dr. William Soeffing, Ph.D. is a 29-year veteran professor of Biology and chairperson of the Natural Science Area.  Bill, as he is better known, began his collegiate academic preparation at South Dakota State University where he received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in biology/zoology/wildlife biology.  His Ph.D. is from the University of South Dakota School of Medicine, where he pursued research interests in the molecular cellular and anatomical sciences.  Bill’s continuing passion for research incorporates student research associates in the examination of issues surrounding the occupancy of extreme environments and forensic osteology.

Bill serves the community in areas closely related to his science aptitudes by collaborating and consulting with state and local law enforcement agencies and emergency management services.  His professional service is channeled through state and national science associations.  He is a former executive board member and secretary-treasurer and an assistant editor for the South Dakota Academy of Science.  Bill is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Most important to Bill is a commitment to family.  His family consists of his spouse, Cassandra, and two sons, Charles and Wilson.  Cassie is a senior scientist for the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (NASA) in Washington, DC.  Charles and Wilson are undergraduate students at South Dakota State University and the University of Sioux Falls, respectively.  The Soeffing family has a golden retriever, named (by no surprise)…Einstein.

Bill currently team-teaches the Science and Law of Evidence and Evidence II—Unsolved Crimes courses with Beth O’Toole.

Adjunct Criminal Justice Faculty

robert_amundsonRobert A. Amundson, former South Dakota Supreme Court Justice, serves as an adjunct professor in USF’s Criminal Justice Department.  Amundson brings a distinguished career with outstanding legal credentials to the Criminal Justice Department at USF.

Amundson received his law degree from the University of South Dakota in 1964, and then served as assistant Attorney General from 1965 to 1969 and as South Dakota Securities Commissioner from 1969 to 1970.  He was in private legal practice in Belle Fourche and Lead from 1970 to 1987.   In 1987, he was appointed by Governor Mickelson to the circuit judge position in Minnehaha County.  Amundson officially started his tenure on the South Dakota Supreme Court in March of 1991.  He served as the City Attorney for the City of Sioux Falls from 2008-2010, and even in his retirement, continues to do mediation work and teach courses at area colleges.  
Amundson teaches Ethics & The Law and Courts: Operations and Issues at the University of Sioux Falls.