Perceptions of Undergraduate Students on Criminology and Criminal Justice Education in the United States: An Empirical Analysis

By Schanz, Youngyol Yim | International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences, July-December 2013 | Go to article overview

Perceptions of Undergraduate Students on Criminology and Criminal Justice Education in the United States: An Empirical Analysis


Schanz, Youngyol Yim, International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences


Introduction

The first criminology program for police officers was founded in 1916 at the University of California at Berkeley in the U.S. (Birzer & Palmiotto, 2002). Since then, the number of colleges and universities offering criminology or criminal justice (hereafter C&CJ) or closely related programs has increased nationwide, especially during the 1970s after the passage of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (Eigenberg & Baro, 1992). According to the most recent statistics from the Department of Education, in 2006 and 2007, 39,206 students earned bachelor's degrees in the field of security and protective services, including corrections, criminal justice and law enforcement administration, and corrections administration (The National Center for Education Statistics, 2009, p. 237).

However, a debate whether college education is necessary for criminal justice practitioners continues. Carlan (2006) wrote that "Criminal Justice educators are [still] accused of operating 'cop shops' or 'advanced training academies,' yet few efforts test these stereotypes against the experiences of police consumers" (p. 616). Along with the debate, studies have been conducted to examine the impact of college education on officers' job performance (e.g. Paoline & Terrill, 1997; Wimshurst & Ransley, 2007) or on their increased job satisfaction (e.g., Dantzker, 1994; Zhaoa, Thurmanb & He, 1999). The evaluation or assessment of C&CJ programs in higher education has been a popular topic in the literature since the 1970s. One way to evaluate programs is to incorporate student input by examining student opinions of program quality. However, little research specifically focuses on how C&CJ undergraduates perceive their C&CJ programs. The main goal of this study is to examine those perceptions. More specifically, the present study answers the following questions:

* How do students perceive C&CJ higher education in relation to their jobs and careers?

* What is students' main reason for pursuing a four-year college degree in C&CJ?

* What is C&CJ students' main obstacle to pursuing a four-year college degree?

* How are students' demographic and social variables related to their perception of their C&CJ program?

Due to the fact that few studies have examined how C&CJ majors perceive their program in higher education, this study is exploratory in nature. Learning about C&CJ programs from students' perspectives can yield many benefits. For example, as Benekos and his associates point out, "Data regarding student perceptions can help faculty develop teaching strategies that will better educate students about critical issues in the system" (Benekos, Merlo, Cook & Bagley, 2002, p. 203).

Literature review

College education and career seem to be closely related. After all, all college students will have to decide on a career path (Mobley, 2000). Some scholars (Blocher & Rapoza, 1981; Laanan, 2000; Payne & Sumter, 2005) have pointed out that career preparation has been recognized as a crucial mission of higher education. Although career preparation is one of the most important missions of higher education, some scholars (e.g., Birzer & Palmiotto, 2002) caution that the inclusion of technical and vocational classes in academic C&CJ programs may lower these programs' learning standards as well as the general perception of the degree program.

C&CJ programs in higher education have been the object of great concern among many scholars since the 1970s, and as such they have been consistently evaluated and criticized. Some of these scholars have focused on curriculum descriptions from various programs (e.g., Adams, 1976; Bennett, & Marshall, 1979; Birzer & Palmiotto, 2002; Fabianic, 1979a; Kuykendall, 1977; Lytle & Travis, 2008; Mijares & Blackburn, 1990; Pelfrey, 1982; Southerland, 1991, 2002). Other researchers have specifically analyzed the descriptions, quality, prestige, and evaluation mechanisms of C&CJ doctoral programs (e. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Perceptions of Undergraduate Students on Criminology and Criminal Justice Education in the United States: An Empirical Analysis
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.