Tom Higgins Availability and Background


Tom Higgins
Professor of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies
and Teaching Chair for Legal Studies
President of the Faculty Forum
Illinois Central College
Office Hours and Availability: 
Calling my office line is not the best option for reaching me.  An email will get the quickest response.  
for Students
If you have a question or concern, please e-mail me and we can arrange to meet in person, by Zoom, or by phone.  If you are enrolled in one of my Online Scheduled courses, I block the hour before class time and I stay after each class.  
When emailing me, please provide your full name, the specific course, and your question, concern, and reason for contacting me along with your phone number and the best times to contact you.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will answer your email or call you within 24 hours of receipt, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  And possibly, though not guaranteed, I may get back to you outside those days and times. 
In circumstances where it would be best that we talk, I will request that we arrange a Zoom or phone and if appropriate, a good old-fashioned face-to-face meeting.
for Employers, Internship Hosts, and Others
Please email me with your question, concern, and reason for contacting me along with your phone number and the best times to contact you.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will answer your email or call you within 24 hours of receipt, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  And possibly, though not guaranteed, I may get back to you outside those days and times. 
In circumstances where it would be best that we talk, I will request that we arrange a Zoom or phone and if appropriate, a good old-fashioned face-to-face meeting.
Background:


Illinois Central College 1996 to Present

Professor and Legal Studies Teaching Chair

As a graduate of Illinois Central College (police science) and former Cougar (men’s basketball), I have a distinct interest in the success of our students, graduates, and programs.  I am a proud alum of Illinois Central College and I wake up every single morning ready to further its mission.

While a student, I was fortunate to be able to work as a Cadet in the Public Safety Department (Campus Police).  I moved on to Bradley University after graduating from ICC and I returned to ICC when I turned 21 to work for then-Chief Bob Walker as an officer. I followed a law enforcement career path while entering law school before working for the Illinois Attorney General Neil Hartigan and private law firms in Chicago.  I eventually returned home to Peoria where I was a trial lawyer and partner in a small litigation law firm.  

I once again returned to Illinois Central College in 1996 as an instructor and I have taught a variety of law and justice-related courses.  The full list of courses I have taught over the years is listed at the bottom of this document. 

I was fortunate enough to be part of the first group of faculty in the United States to offer a wholly online, web-based course.  

I was also fortunate enough to study online learning through the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the original version of the Master of Online Teaching program.  In those days, the number of faculty willing to explore teaching wholly online was far and few between and I found myself doing group work and completing courses with colleagues in multiple time zones from across the globe. It was an awesome and invaluable opportunity and experience.

Over the years, my classes have evolved with each advancement in available technology. Much of that evolution is available to see or hear through my course guides on various podcast outlets or YouTube.  

When COVID-19 took higher education entirely online in March of 2020, it was not (and still is not) pleasant.  But I was fully prepared to meet the challenge and more importantly, to assist my students to earn the knowledge and skills they seek from my courses. 

I served a stint as Legal Studies and then Paralegal Program Director, leaving that post in 2007.  I find myself filling that role at the present as Legal Studies Teaching Chair. 

Faculty Forum President                                                 2019 to Present

The Faculty Forum President presides over the Faculty Senate, the governing body for the full-time faculty, and its collective unit known as the Faculty Forum. The Forum President formerly assumed a co-equal position on the organization chart of Illinois Central College, participating in the college Executive Cabinet, and working with the college President in the shared governance of Illinois Central College. This expectation has changed and the role currently revolves around representing the interest of Forum members and the terms of the Faculty Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Faculty Forum and the Illinois Central College Board of Trustees.  






Ongoing Professional Experience related to Law and Justice 

Alternative Dispute Resolution and Legal Consultant   1996 to Present

Mediator, Arbitrator, and Legal Consultant in various Civil Disputes including service as an EEOC Mediator for a spectrum of employee/employer claims, a variety of issues involving commercial and business transactions, and assessment of liability.  

Administrative Hearing Officer 1996 to 2021

Presided over the process for resolving and adjudicating various types of municipal ordinance cases in Peoria, East Peoria, Creve Couer, Marquette Heights, and Pekin, Illinois.  These cases involve taking sworn testimony from police and city personnel, citizens, property owners and lay and expert witnesses in a variety of matters regarding residential and commercial property, including but not limited to:


• CRIMINAL NUISANCE PROPERTY VIOLATIONS • BUILDING CODE VIOLATIONS • ZONING CODE VIOLATIONS • NON-OWNER OCCUPIED PROPERTY REGISTRATION • ENVIRONMENTAL CODE VIOLATIONS


In addition, I presided over vehicle impound hearings in cases that involve issues to including but not limited to:


• DRUGS • WEAPONS • PROSTITUTION • DUI • SUSPENDED DL • REVOKED DL •  HIT AND RUN • FLEEING AND ELUDING • COMMISSION OF A CRIME


These hearings are presented by way of the authority of the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act, 5 ILCS 100/1-1 et. seq.  


Trustee, City of Peoria Firemen’s Pension Fund      2021 to Present


Fire and Police Commissioner, City of Peoria                               2012 to 2019

Served as a member, Secretary, and then Vice-Chair of the body responsible for hiring, disciplining, and promoting Fire and Police personnel for the City of Peoria, Illinois.






Education

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign - Graduated in 2000

Master of Online Teaching Certificate

The John Marshall Law School (now known as the University of Illinois Chicago Law School - Graduated in 1990

Juris Doctor

Bradley University - Graduated in 1987

Bachelor of Science, Administration of Criminal Justice

Illinois Central College - Graduated in 1985

Associates in Applied Science, Police Science






Articles

Driving Under the Influence in Illinois, 22 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 551 (1991)


Motions in Limine: Use and Consequences in Illinois, 26 J. Marshall L. Rev. 305 (1993)


Utilization of Paralegals in Illinois: The secret to a more efficient and profitable law practice (printed and re-printed in various Illinois State Bar Association publications and local and State bar association Continuing Legal Education materials)


Various Continuing Legal Education program materials for Peoria County, Illinois State Bar Association, and private CLE provider programs.



Courses Taught at Illinois Central College through Online, Online Scheduled, Hybrid, and Traditional Modalities:

Bus 115 Business Law I

Bus 116 Business Law II

Bus 215 Legal Environment of Business

Crj 110 Introduction to Criminal Justice

Crj 111 Special Topics in Criminal Justice

Crj 118 Juvenile Delinquency

Crj 201 Criminal Justice Internship

Crj 225 Criminal Law

Crj 226 Criminal Law and Procedure

Crj 227 Administration of Justice

Crj 230 Criminal Procedure and Evidence

Prlgl 110 Introduction to Paralegal

Prlgl 112 Legal Research I

Prlgl 113 Legal Research II

Prlgl 114 Family Law

Prlgl 115 Wills, Trusts and Estates

Prlgl 116 Civil Litigation

Prlgl 117 Administrative Law

Prlgl 118 Law Office Management

Prlgl 120 Medical Terminology for Paralegals

Prlgl 121 Ethics and Professional Responsibility for Paralegals

Prlgl 215 Business Organizations

Prlgl 260 Paralegal Internship

Rslt 230 Real Estate Law