About the Department
The Department of Criminal Justice was created in 1974 under the direction of Roosevelt Shepherd, its chair for 23 years. The initial curriculum was Law Enforcement-oriented and, because the department had only two faculty, drew heavily from Sociology, Psychology, Social Work, and Political Science for its courses. In response to regional needs, the Department of Criminal Justice developed the Master of Science degree program in Administration of Justice in 1983. Over the past few decades, the department has continued grow, allowing for the reorganization of both the graduate and undergraduate curriculums to reflect the changing needs of our students and the demands of the fields they will be entering. In 2015, the Department of Criminal Justice received certification from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) for its Bachelor of Science program. It was the first undergraduate Criminal Justice program to receive the honor in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and it is currently one of only a handful of programs in the entire U.S. to be certified by ACJS.
The mission of the Department of Criminal Justice is to provide current and future criminal justice professionals with the background and skills that will enable them to think critically about the problems of crime and justice and to be effective decision makers in the criminal justice arena. Central to achieving this mission is an integrated program of study designed to provide graduate students with the knowledge and skills to undertake independent, critical investigation of issues related to crime control and justice policy. The Department's major strengths are its applied perspective and strong emphasis on theory, policy, research, and analysis. Philosophy, format, and implementation stress the practical application of a higher level of knowledge, skills, and strategies. The methodological and theoretical elements are highly suitable as a preparation for entering advanced graduate studies and other professional programs. In an effort to achieve this mission, the department strictly follows the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences' code of ethics.