Jeff Mincheff’s Adventures in Teaching

By: Shannon Smith

Jeff Mincheff“My first experience with teaching was a high school class on the subject of youth and law," says Mincheff.  “It covered a variety of topics from the field and was well received.”  Now, teaching in college brings a new experience.  “I do like the interaction with the students on a weekly basis, but I do see the value of teaching online courses for less traditional students' needs”, he says.  While not all professors teach the same way, Mincheff suggests, “If you want to do well in my classes, take good notes and do not be afraid to ask questions. In the online courses, do not fall behind on discussions and assignments.”  He reflects, “I hope I was able to help many students over the years of teaching and assist them in finding their goals. I would like to be remembered as a fair and honest teacher.”

Jeff started teaching for the Criminal Justice Department as a guest speaker on a couple of occasions.  Later, and with the help of Dr. Gloria Urban, he was offered the opportunity to teach a class by the previous CJ department head Dr. Paul Lang. He explains, “Dr. Urban was very influential in motivating me to earn my master's degree; she was my coach and cheerleader during that time, and I am eternally grateful to her for all her help. Having the opportunity to teach for the Criminal Justice Department has helped me with all the aspects of my current job.  It keeps me current on all the trends and changes in the law enforcement profession. I do enjoy the interaction with the students; many of them have an excellent grasp of the criminal justice system.”

Mincheff and studentsMincheff received his Associate's Degree in the spring of 1977 in Criminal Justice. “I decided in that summer to continue with my education and later obtained my Bachelor's Degree in 1979. I also attended the regional police academy here at Northern and graduated in January of 1979.”  Mincheff soon after worked for a sheriff’s department immediately out of the academy.  He later worked for a township police department and then a city police department.  Several years passed and he returned to Northern Michigan University Public Safety and Police Services.  “When the Criminal Justice Department started their Master's Degree program I immediately enrolled and graduated in 2004. It was that same year that I attended the National FBI Academy in Quantico, and graduated in September of 2004,” he comments.

Mincheff currently serves as the Assistant Director for Police Services.  “It is a job I have always wanted to do,” he remarks. On a personal side he explains, “As far back as I can remember I have always wanted to be in the police profession. My older brother (Dennis) was a police officer in Wisconsin and that is where it started. Mincheff's mentor has always been his father. “My father was and still is always there when I need something, whether it was just talking or encouragement. He always speaks of hard work and being honest with everyone, a trait that is very hard to do in today’s world.” On the professional side, he says, “It is my current boss, Director Ken Chant. He has given me the opportunity to grow in this profession from attending schools to training, and the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of the profession.”

Students attentive in classWest Iron County has always been his home in the Upper Peninsula; however, he did move a couple times while growing up. “We lived in Alexandria, Kentucky, for a couple years and then moved back to the Upper Peninsula and lived in White Pine, a small mining community where I graduated from high school.” Sports were very big in his small community.  “It seemed as though everyone was involved which made It very special for everyone to be part of.”

Jeff enjoys hunting (Archery) and being outside in the woods.   Five words come to mind as Jeff describes himself “Honest/friendly/compassionate/confident/caring.  Pastime for me is being around family and friends.”

 “Challenges for me was juggling family, work, and the master's program ;and then being away from home for 12 weeks at the national FBI academy.”  His wife Debbie and two daughters Megan and Hannah attended Northern; “My wife graduated with a degree in computer science, my oldest daughter (Meg) graduated from the nursing program and is currently a critical care nurse at MGH. My youngest (Hannah) will graduate in nursing this spring with a degree in nursing as well.  My sister (Susan) also currently works here at Northern.”

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