Departmental Periodic Program Review AY 2020-21
The Department of Criminal Justice oversees the B.S. in Criminal Justice, a minor in Criminal Justice, and a minor in Forensic Science. The major in Criminal Justice (B.S Degree) was established in 1979 and has been a most popular and robust program in the University. Aligned with university mission and strategic plans, the program successfully provides students knowledge and skills in the field of criminal justice along with liberal arts components of critical thinking and communication skills.
Curriculum: Our curriculum is comprehensive and met, even exceeded the minimum standards for Criminal Justice education as outlined by ACJS, the national accreditation organization. Since our last PPR (AY2015-2016), we further reviewed our curriculum based on JAP (Joint Action Plan) recommendations and enhanced curriculum features (e.g. a sequential course taking, rearrangement of core- and elective- courses, requirement of C or higher grade in CRJ courses, reassignment of course numbers, correction of course catalog, and the addition/revival of new/dormant elective courses).
Criminal justice major represents about 7% of Brockport undergraduates, about three times larger than average undergraduate majors, which brings tremendous amount of money to the University. Since 2015, The program has experienced the overall reduction of student enrollment, especially in transfer student population. From Fall 2015 to Fall 2019, total enrollment changed by - 11.7% (463 to 409). Although freshmen enrollment increased by 4.5% (244 to 255), there was a considerable decrease in transfer students by -31.8% (211 to 144) due to both internal- and external variables. We may not control outside variables (e.g. a lower community college enrollment, new CRJ programs in local colleges, and online CRJ degree programs). The University, however, in order to recruit prospectus students and to retain current students, needs to support the department to develop attractive opportunities (e.g. innovative courses, online program, combined degree, and certificates… etc.) with more qualified fulltime faculty/staff and facilities (e.g. computer labs, forensic labs).
CRJ faculty have served as good soldiers to nurture the best students in the field. All faculty are highly committed to their teaching, scholarship, and service. As of Fall 2020, we have nine fulltime faculty including one lecturer, who are serving for over 400 major and 150 minors (Forensic science minor & Criminal Justice minor). Having all Ph.D. degree, CRJ faculty have their own specialties in sub- areas of criminal justice and actively involved in teaching, scholarship, and service activities. We are so proud of our faculty who produced three dozen of peer review publications since our previous PPR even under the serious pressure of service and advisement load. Because of frequent faculty turnover in last decades, the department kept searching new faculty which creates the department unstable and the composition of faculty very young (i.e., five of nine faculty have less than three year fulltime teaching experience in higher education). Our goal is to stabilize the current incredible team to make the program even stronger. To educate more than 500 major/minor students, our department highly relies on associate faculty (i.e. 9-10 adjuncts are assigned in teaching courses every semester). All adjuncts are current/previous criminal justice professionals who bring their career experiences into our classrooms.
Previous PPRs, recent external reviewers (2011 & 2017) and Academy of Criminal Justice Services (ACJS) Standards kept recommending that our CRJ program must have sufficient full-time faculty to provide effective teaching, advising, and scholarly activity; no more than 20% of major courses be delivered by part-time faculty; all core courses be delivered by full-time faculty. Institutional data show that CRJ fulltime faculty and student ratio is about 45:1(not including minors), which is about three times higher than Brockport undergraduate average (17:1). AY2019-2020 data further show that 36-38% of major courses are delivered by associate faculty. Our CRJ program maintains subpar levels of staffing, compared to national standards and even compared to other similar sized programs (e.g. Psychology, KSSPE, Public Health & Health Education, or Nursing) at the University.
Great Opportunities: The program has maintained its high quality and reputation for more than four decades. Student satisfaction on the program/faculty is high. Job market after graduation is bright. As a home of more than 400 majors and 150 minors, an inter-disciplinary program, and an applied social science, our CRJ program has a great potential to incorporate innovative courses, to develop relationship with community, and to expand programs with graduate degree, inter-disciplinary degree, more minors, specialized certificates, online degree, and combined degree. The realization of these opportunities highly relies on the support from the University.
MoonSun Kim, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Chair