Welcome to the latest issue of Criminal Justice News! In this issue we highlight some of the department accomplishments during the 2014-2015 academic year, and provide updates on plans for the 2015-2016 academic year.
The 2014-2015 academic year was a very busy and productive one for the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. We saw more than 120 undergraduates obtain the degree, as well as a number of MA students and six PhD students. The number of undergraduate majors continues to grow, as we exceeded 850 students (including 150 online students) who have selected CRMJ as either a first or second major or minor. We offered more classes than ever before, and they all filled. We offered additional Summer classes and several classes during the December Intersession, in an effort to help students matriculate in a timely manner.
Highlights of the year include the second Study Abroad trip to London, which was led by Dr. Melanie Neuilly and Sis Keopanapay. This year Dr. Neuilly plans to take students to Amsterdam over the Spring Break. The annual department awards ceremony, hosted by Alpha Phi Sigma, was a success, and the faculty had the happy opportunity to hand out more scholarship funds than ever before, thanks to several very generous donations by CRMJ alumni. The department will continue to seek funds for undergraduate and graduate student scholarship. This year, the department is soliciting funds for a new graduate student scholarship.
Department faculty had an outstanding year in research. The Washington State Institute for Criminal Justice continues to collaborate with the Washington Department of Corrections and other state agencies, and Dr. Jacqueline van Wormer continues her work with the Spokane Criminal Justice Commission—in fact she is taking the year off from teaching to focus on this project. The department obtained grant funding for several new research projects, including an evaluation of the Spokane DUI Court and a study of Washington state inmates suffering from traumatic brain injuries.
Faculty and graduate students presented their research at several conferences, including the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences meeting in Orlando, the American Society of Criminology meeting in San Francisco, and the Western Association of Criminal Justice in Las Vegas. Faculty (and graduate students) published several books and a number of articles.
There have been some changes in the department. Andrea Butcherite has replaced Kelli Laxson as an Undergraduate Academic Advisor (Andrea previously served as the Graduate Coordinator). Replacing Andrea as the Graduate Coordinator is Noelle Simmons. She will work with Dr. Faith Lutze, the Graduate Director, to make sure graduate students are well taken care of. Dr. Otto Marenin and Dr. David Brody return from their sabbaticals.
The department also has some new faculty members. Amelie Pedneault joins us from Simon Fraser University, and Dale Willits joins us from California State University-Bakersfield. Dr. David Makin also accepted a tenure-track position, moving over from his Clinical Professor position. The addition of these three tenure-track faculty will help the department with its teaching of undergraduate and graduate students, and allow us to take advantage of more research opportunities.
The department intends to increase the type and degree of mentorship that it provides to graduate students. The Professional Development Workshop series, begun last year, will continue in the Fall. Topics will include CV development, how to present at conferences, and online teaching strategies. The Graduate Student Association, under the leadership of President Mia Abboud, has a number of events in the works as well.
Last year was very busy and very productive. This year looks to be every bit as busy and even more productive. I look forward to working with everyone to make the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology one of the leading departments at Washington State University and in the nation.