Still the Least Among Equals? Criminal Justice, Institutional Support, and Quality of Education in the 21st Century

Matthew C. Leone, University of Nevada - Reno
Patrick T. Kinkade, Texas Christian University

Criminal Justice has long been regarded by other social sciences as a lesser science, one that attracts the least qualified students and produces graduates primarily prepared for jobs in law enforcement. Historically, due to the influence of LEAA, criminal justice curricula reflected that occupational reality, and departments were not eager to create more diverse and rigorous course requirements. That trend, however, has changed in recent decades, and anecdotal evidence has indicated that criminal justice departments are becoming more interested in offering more challenging and interesting coursework. To test that anecdotal finding to determine if it constitutes a true trend in education, a national survey of criminal justice department chairs was completed. Questions regarding the types and requirements of classes offered, the department's relationship with other departments in the unviersity. and the faculty structure of the department were analyzed and changes in the organizational and academic structures of criminal justice departments were evaluatec.

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Updated 05/20/2006