Faculty Who Care
John J. Contino
Assoc. Professor, Criminal Justice Administration
John J. Contino is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Homeland Security Management at Central Penn College.
Prior to his academic career, Mr. Contino served as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission. He was appointed to that position in 1987 after serving as the Commission’s General Counsel. Before joining the Commission, Mr. Contino served as Counsel to the Pennsylvania Crime Commission on matters relating to organized crime and public corruption investigations. He also served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and as an Assistant District Attorney in the City of Philadelphia.
Mr. Contino received a B.A. cum laude from Villanova University. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law. Mr. Contino is admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania; United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit; the United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania and the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
As Director of the Commission, Mr. Contino oversaw the administrative and enforcement responsibilities of the Agency for more than twentyseven years. He successfully litigated numerous matters, both at the administrative trial and appellate levels. Several of these cases resulted in precedent-setting decisions involving the constitutional separation of powers principle.
Mr. Contino also has testified as an expert witness in several major public corruption trials.
Mr. Contino serves as a continuing legal education instructor and was a longtime member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Professionalism Committee. He has served on the Steering Committee and as President of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL), an international professional organization for governmental agencies, organizations and individuals with responsibility or interests in governmental ethics, elections, campaign finance, lobbying and freedom of information laws.
He has lectured extensively on government ethics, lobbying regulation and related topics throughout the country and was the keynote speaker at a conference on government ethics in Russia in November 2000. Mr. Contino traveled to Mexico at the request of the United States Department of State to consult with Mexican state and local governmental officials on anti corruption and government transparency efforts and he participated in a similar program for public officials in Latvia. Mr. Contino also has conducted training and evaluation programs for government officials from Thailand, Lithuania and Estonia and the Council of Europe (GRECO). Most recently, at the request of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Mr. Contino served as a delegate to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima, Peru on combating high level public corruption. He also was requested by officials from New Jersey and Tennessee to assist in the development of Government reform measures in those states. Mr. Contino received the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws’ Outstanding Service Award for his contributions in the fields of government ethics and lobbying regulation and he also has received recognition from various government associations for his educational efforts. In 2010, Mr. Contino received the international “COGEL Award” for his significant, demonstrable and positive contributions to the field of ethics.
I am active in both professional and civic organizations. I also continue to be active in sports. As a former Division 1 intercollegiate soccer player and tri-athlete, I have developed a continuing drive to be physically active. My current pursuits include biking, swimming and various water sports.
I have based my approach to education based upon teachers I have had who stand out in my memory. They presented their subjects in a way that caught my interest, clarified difficult topics, led me through complex areas and put knowledge into context so that its relevance was apparent. I view myself primarily as a facilitator of learning, rather than someone who simply delivers information to students. Personal contact with students is essential to my approach. I emphasize my availability for informal discussion and my willingness to help them sort out any problems they have with what they are learning. I want students to actively participate, rather than passively learn. As such, my class sessions include: Collaborative research projects, Formal scholarly research papers, Presentations (Speaking, Multimedia), Quizzes, Review activities, Traditional exams, Writing Activities, hands-on exercises using real case studies, the application of learned concepts to current events and the development of soft skills.
My courses develop critical thinking and problem solving skills because my students evaluate realistic scenarios by applying analytic frameworks, general course materials and theories. I develop group interaction and management skills through group discussions; I also develop communication skills by requiring students to identify problematic analyses and defend proposed solutions in written and verbal contexts. One of the principal skills required for students entering jobs related to criminology and criminal justice is the ability to solve problems, either individually or as a team member. It is through the application of knowledge that students develop clear understandings of the material; as students become more successful in understanding and applying class material, they are motivated to further expand their own knowledge on a subject. I provide students with the necessary information and analytic skills required for successful careers.