Meet KPU: Dr. Galib Bhayani
Bhayani received the Meritorious Service Medal after working for 12 years as a criminology professor and nearly 30 years in the police force
Dr. Galib Bhayani, a criminology professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, was awarded the Meritorious Service Decoration for the civil division earlier in January.
The Meritorious Service Decorations were intended to honour Canadians who have made outstanding achievements in a variety of disciplines ranging from advocacy, healthcare, research and humanitarian endeavours. They recognize accomplishments in both civil and military divisions across Canada.
Bhayani previously received the Outstanding Service Award from the RCMP for his work in establishing the new Iraq police force.
Bhayani began his policing career with the Delta Police Department nearly 30 years ago. He is the North Vancouver RCMP Superintendent and has worked as an instructor for the past 12 years. At KPU, Dr. Bhayani and his wife continue to award their legacy scholarship for criminology students in hopes that it will cover some of the costs of pursuing a quality education.
When did you join the KPU community and why?
I had been teaching for a little bit. I had my master’s at the time, and I was starting my Ph.D. In 2009, I was looking at teaching and I saw an opportunity to enter into a quality, small university. I was teaching at Simon Fraser University — just one-offs for other faculty members. I came into KPU and talked to some people there and realized they had small classes. What a great opportunity to have an impact with no more than 35 people.
I went to SFU and you had 200 people in the class, and never knew the names of instructors and professors and you felt like you couldn’t put your hand up. It was in 2008 to 2009 that I made the switch. I’ve been here ever since, teaching all levels of criminology from honours, honours thesis, and all the way down to introductory courses, and I’ve had a great time doing it.
What is your favourite story of your time at KPU?
I live in Vancouver and I’ve taught for over a decade now. I’ve had a lot of calls from students, especially when they get their job or start policing. I had one student call me and say, “I enjoyed your class but you know, I hated everything you taught me. I hated it. But it made me realize that I didn’t want to be a police officer. I became a nurse.” I was very happy for her because she landed in the career that she truly wanted.
I’ve also had people tap me on the shoulder downtown and say, “Hey professor Bhayani, do you remember me?” And it’s my students. They’re working as officers, as security guards, or they’re doing something completely different. I get phone calls from the students that say, “Thank you for helping me. I went away from policing, I’m in law school now and you made a difference in my career choice by teaching me to look at everything.” Having students come back to me and share their successes with me, and it doesn’t have to be in policing, that makes me happy.
What is something you’d like to say to people new to the community?
One thing I’d like to say to students is to really build relationships while you can. When I went to SFU, I made friends with people to the left and right of me. They stayed with me all through my university career and beyond. On days I was sick and couldn’t come to class, they took notes for me. They ended up in fields that I needed to help me in my career. So never burn a relationship, keep relationships going, build as many as you can, in all disciplines.
Everything from nursing to education to policing, those relationships will come back and benefit you. Policing is not about the justice system anymore. It’s also about our healthcare system. It’s about our education system. It’s about our social welfare system. Everything collides together.
So make relationships, make them early, keep them and build as many as you can to get you to where you need to go in life because those things will certainly help you.
If you’re not good at presenting and you’re shy, force yourself to do more of that in school. I have students who can’t speak at all and those are the ones I really push hard to get up there. By the end of the semester, you get to see them actually standing up and talking about an issue for 15 minutes without their knees slapping and they’re actually quite comfortable.
The university offers classes, memberships, a cafeteria and a pub, take advantage of those things. Enjoy the moment while you’re in university.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on creating an international policing course. A lot of my work has been overseas. I worked for the United Nations in Sudan in 2007. I was in Turkey teaching the Turkish police on human rights in 2004, and in Iraq in 2016. And I’ve been to a number of other African countries on behalf of the UN and Canada. So I’ve been working on an international policing seminar for fourth-year students and also an international policing textbook.
There are very few textbooks written on international policing, and so I’d like to write one that speaks to Canada’s role in peacemaking, peacebuilding and peacekeeping around the world with police specifically, and how the skills we have are transferable in other countries.
I’m hoping to finish the seminar in the next year and the textbook in the next two years.
What is something you would like people to know about you?
I’m really committed to fitness. Every morning I like to go for a nice long run or a HIIT class and then I like to cook at the end of the day. That balances my health. I also like the term “pracademic.” I feel like I’m a practitioner and an academic so I’ve coined the phrase “pracademic.” The term helps my students to recognize that I’m not just a Ph.D. or I’m not just a police officer, I am a blend of both and they get the best of both worlds.