New Special Topic Classes Debut This Spring Semester

Picture of college students in a classroom looking up at the professor.

The College of Criminal Justice has several new Special Topics courses available on campus and online this spring.

For in-person courses on campus, students can choose from Human Trafficking, Crime Prevention, and Advanced Techniques in Forensic Anthropology. For online classes, new options include Civil Liabilities and Gender & Crime.

Mitchell Garcia, who recently retired after 27 years with the Houston Police Department, will be the instructor for the Human Trafficking course. With Houston leading the nation for these types of crime, Garcia hopes to raise awareness about the illegal trade of human beings for sex, forced labor or organ harvesting. The class will look at the research on human trafficking, and the methods used to investigate it, which includes information exchanges and cooperation among various agencies, including investigations, law enforcement, criminal justice professionals and social workers.

Image of handcuffs with the words Crime Prevention.Visiting Professor Dr. Ryan Randa will offer Crime Prevention, which will explore environmental criminology and opportunity theory, as well as examples of crime prevention programs and techniques. The course will examine physical surroundings and other factors that influence crime and how to prevent those illegal activities in homes, neighborhoods, businesses and malls.

Photo of a skeleton on a gurney with a projected x-ray of the image behind it.Dr. Joan Bytheway, a professor at Sam Houston State University and director of the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility, will teach Advanced Techniques in Forensic Anthropology. The class will include histology of bones and their use in species identification and age determination; geometric morphometrics, which is the comparison of the human skeleton using three-dimensional data; radiography as a tool for personal identification; characteristics of burned bones; and recovery techniques including map reading. The classes will be held at the STAFS facility.

Photo of hands typing on a laptop computer.The online classes will be taught by Dr. Mike Vaughn (Civil Liabilities) and Dr. Leana Bouffard (Gender & Crime).

With lawsuits against police and other actors in the criminal justice system at epidemic proportions, it is imperative that criminal justice practitioners know the legal and administrative rules for avoiding liability. This course is beneficial for anyone who is going into the criminal justice system as a career. It is a very practical course in that what is covered in class can help criminal justice officials stay out of trouble and stay away from being sued by the public. The course also will appeal to students who want to go to graduate school and study law, and especially for those students who want to attend law school.

Photo of man and woman with guns.Gender & Crime will explore the difference between men and women in the criminal justice system, including their offending, victimization experiences, and process through the system in such areas as arrest, sentencing and prison. The course also will examine men and women employed in the criminal justice field.

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