Leading the Way in CJ and Criminology

College Dean Dr. Vincent Webb leads a discussion among representatives from top criminal justice programs across the country.
College Dean Dr. Vincent Webb leads a discussion among representatives from top criminal justice programs across the country.

Academic leaders in Criminal Justice and Criminology recently gathered at Sam Houston State University for a Graduate Director Summit to share information to improve programs in the discipline across the country.

The summit was sponsored by the Association of Doctoral Programs in Criminology and Criminal Justice, an organization comprised of 39 universities and colleges offering or planning to offer the doctorate in criminal justice, criminology, and related areas of study. The two-day program included such topics such as recruiting, mentoring, publishing, and preparing students for the job search as well as how to groom associate professors for leadership roles in graduate programs.

“I think people came away with information on the best practices in doctoral education, and departments shared current data and experiences that they can bring back to their programs and faculty,” said Dr. Beth Huebner, President of the ADPCCJ and Graduate Program Director of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. “If we can augment our doctoral education, we can strengthen our field.”

Dr. Gaylene Armstrong, Director of Criminal Justice and Criminology, discusses lessons learned during the summit.
Dr. Gaylene Armstrong, Director of Criminal Justice and Criminology, discusses lessons learned during the summit.
The summit was attended by a “Who’s Who” from top criminal justice programs across the country. Among the institutions represented were Arizona State University, Florida State University, George Mason University, Georgia State University, Indiana University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, Northeastern University, Penn State University, Prairie View A& M University, Rutgers University - Newark, Sam Houston State University, Simon Fraser University, Southern Illinois University, State University of Albany - SUNY, Texas Southern University, Texas State University – San Marcos, University of Arkansas – Little Rock, University of California – Irvine, University of Central Florida, University of Cincinnati, University of Delaware, University of Florida, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Maryland, University of Missouri – St. Louis, University of Nebraska - Omaha, University of New Haven, University of Pennsylvania, University of South Carolina, University of Southern Mississippi, University of Texas at Dallas, and Washington State University.

Although the ADPCCJ hold annual meetings at the American Society of Criminology, the last summit was held in 2006. The summit allows directors to share ideas on how to operate effective programs to advance the study of crime and justice. The summit allowed those in the discipline to discuss key issues common to graduate studies in all the institutions.

Among the topics addressed were:

  • Student recruitment and enhancing diversity in the discipline
  • Student mentoring and professional development
  • Comprehensive exams
  • Curriculum, statistics and methods sequences
  • Strategies for hiring and preparing student for the job search
  • Publishing in the discipline
  • The dissertation process

Professor leads lecture in a classroom.Sam Houston State University serves the secretariat for the ADPCCJ. During the meeting at the College of Criminal Justice, Graduate Directors got an overview of the College and the Criminal Justice Center from Dr. Vincent Webb, who serves as dean of the College and Director of the center.

In addition to providing academic programs in criminal justice and criminology, victim services, forensic science and security studies, SHSU also operates professional training institutes for law enforcement and corrections professionals through the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas and the Correctional Management Institute of Texas. In addition, the university houses the Crime Victims’ Institute, which provides research on victim issues statewide for the legislature and advocacy groups. The number and diversity of institutes on campus provide a wealth of opportunities for graduate student to pursue research in the field, Dr. Webb said.

Member of The Texas State University System