Program removes criminal justice major

Kaylin Russell September 19, 2013 0

s of the fall 2013 semester, the department of sociology and anthropology has eliminated the criminal justice major and is offering it only as a concentration.  The new concentration will allow students to have more flexibility in the study of crime.

In previous years, students were able to either pursue a sociology and anthropology major with a concentration in criminal justice or just the criminal justice major.

While the programs were strong, they did not fully fit with the College or the specialization of the faculty as a whole. Also, the structure of the major suggested that criminology and criminal justice were different, which is not true.

Now, students will have one specific course to follow that shows their knowledge in the relationship between sociology, anthropology and criminology. This process can help them further their career in later years within the criminal justice system, graduate or law school.

“The modified concentration in criminology and criminal justice will allow students to better understand the relationship between the fields of criminology and criminal justice, develop critical thinking skills and prepare for a variety of opportunities after graduation,” Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Rita Shah said.

Classes also changed the adjustment from major to concentration. Previously, students in the major and students in the concentration were not taking the same classes. Even though the two different paths were similar, the students ended up graduating with different knowledge sets. The new concentration includes a number of classes, such as Methods in Research, Statistical Analysis, and Criminology and The US Criminal Justice System. “The revised concentration requires all students to take both classes, which provides a more in-depth and critical understanding of what is crime, how it is measured, why individuals commit crime and what happens once someone enters the criminal justice system,” said Shah.

There are three main goals that have been accomplished by eliminating the criminal justice major and revising the concentration. First, it ensures that the department keeps all its students on the same educational path and provides flexibility. This change allows students to complete the same core program and department requirements. Next, it aligns with Elizabethtown College’s mission, “affirming peace, non-violence, human dignity and social justice.” Not all fields of criminology focus on social justice and this increased focus on it strengthens the connection and relationship between the two subjects. “A concentration in criminology and criminal justice provides a better and more intentional avenue by which to explore issues of social justice in all areas of the criminal justice system by applying the existing linkage between social justice and criminology and provides an avenue by which to expand this discussion in a more concerted way,” said Shah.

Lastly, all majors in the department will be able to meet the new Real World Learning requirement and promote the College’s motto, “Educate for Service.” Students must reach their course requirements and complete an internship for their Real World Learning requirement. Also, there will be more opportunities for students to participate in undergraduate research. Many of the graduates go on to work in the criminal justice system, so there is a hope that the students will bring a change from within their future career. With the combined focus of criminology and criminal justice, the department teaches its students that they can realize the importance of the goal to “Educate for Service.”

Students enrolled before the fall of 2013 will continue to follow the old curriculum, and the change will not affect their courses or graduation date.

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