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CU offers Master's Degree in Justice Studies

By Ariel C. Emberton

Campbellsville, KY - Dr. Dale Wilson, associate professor and director of criminal justice at Campbellsville University, recently discussed Campbellsville University's Master's Degree in Justice Studies. "Now more than ever, we need leaders who understand the diversity of American society. Leadership in criminal justice must be knowledgeable and transparent, ethical and fully understand the history that criminal justice has with many marginalized sectors of our society."

According to Wilson, the course has two tracks: criminology and public leadership and social justice.

Wilson said the criminology track is designed as a traditional course of study within criminal justice. It focuses on research and is targeted for those students who anticipate going on to obtain a Ph.D. or pursue academia.

The public service leadership and social justice track is designed for leaders in criminal justice organizations such as prisons or law enforcement, non-profits, or other government and private sector jobs that are in or collaborate with the criminal justice system.

"We focus on identifying and assessing problems, targeting evidence-based solutions toward those problems and providing effective leadership designed to achieve social justice for all persons," Wilson said.

Wilson said the degree is particularly relevant to today's society because the country is more diverse than ever, has a complex criminal justice system that is not always seen as fair and equitable to all and lacks diversity in key parts of the system.

Dr. Carey Ruiz, associate professor of sociology and justice studies and director of diversity and community, said, "I think it [the degree] is important because it helps students develop a more inclusive worldview beyond news headlines. It fosters critical thinking and the recognition of one's own place in a diverse world and workforce."

"All components of our criminal justice system must strive for social justice at each step of the process and must focus on fairness for victims and the accused alike," Wilson said.

Ruiz said the program "challenges students to see the relationship between individuals and the society in which they live. I think many people get stuck in only seeing things from their own perspective. This program encourages students to think about individual behavior as it relates to a person's social world."

Wilson has taught multiple courses for the degree including CJ 500 Leadership in a Diverse Society, CJ 505 Ethics in Criminal Justice and CJ 575 Advanced Correctional Theory and Practice.

Ruiz teaches Social Stratification, Race and Ethnicity and Criminal Justice in a Diverse Society.

Wilson said the department wants the program to be a beacon of light for those who currently serve, or are interested in, careers in criminal justice and other agencies with which they collaborate.

The only prerequisite is an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university. To complete this degree as a full-time student it would take 13 months, while a part-time student would need at least 18 months.

Another track for the major is being considered and would focus on social justice leadership and advocacy.

If interested in the program, contact Wilson at The master's program began in fall 2017.

This story was posted on 2020-06-24 10:36:07
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