Criminal Justice and Social Science

James McDonald is proposing a course addition to the Social Sciences Gen Ed. offerings. The course in question (prefix and number to be determined) will expose the topics of the course to a larger student audience than if it were offered strictly within the Criminal Justice A.S. degree program. There is concern as to how this may impact future requests into the Social Science offerings as well as issues with faculty load and transferability.

10 Responses to “Criminal Justice and Social Science”

  1. Lee Thomas

    Thank you for allowing the opportunity to comment on this proposal. I appreciate James McDonald and the work he’s done in this proposal. He’s passionate about this course and this proposal and has graciously worked to answer our questions and address our concerns. Yet, I see three problematic issues with this proposal based on my own conversations with faculty and my review of the materials presented. They are: 1) As I examine the listed course objectives, in my opinion, they are already addressed in other Social Science courses, many of which are already in Social Sciences Gen Ed Are we not repackaging what is already being taught? 2) I’m aware that the final course prefix and numbering that we would select will impact the transferability of this course. I’m concerned that this class, as proposed, might not be highly transferrable. Let’s remember that there are quite a few students who do not go to UCF and who do not complete their AS or AA degrees, and 3) This is a Dean question: James has graciously agreed to allow Social Science Deans to schedule the course if it is approved. I’m a little concerned about control of the course and how enrollment will be counted. From the meeting I’ve attended, the course would belong to Criminal Justice, not Social Sciences. James has graciously offered to allow Social Science faculty to be credentialed to teach the class and to be on the voting list for curricular changes. Given that we’d be staffing, scheduling and handling the course, I’d like to know if enrollment would be counted toward Criminal Justice or Social Science. I’d also like to know who would be responsible for Gen Ed assessment: Criminal Justice or Social Sciences? If we are to do the work and staff the course, do we receive the enrollment credit?

    Finally, having spent many hours listening to our faculty and their concerns on this issue, it is my perception that the vast majority of Social Science faculty across the college strongly oppose this course addition to Social Sciences Institutional Hours. To date, I’ve never seen this level of opposition from Social Science faculty on a curriculum proposal. I hope the faculty who serve on the CCC will note this strong opposition as they consider the message they are sending to Social Sciences faculty if they approve this proposal.

  2. Carl E Creasman Jr

    I look forward to our discussion on Friday, but as I understand this…this proposal did NOT come from “the Criminal Justice faculty” but rather from a Dean…both in idea and all of the written information. If I am incorrect, then please feel free to tell me. But, if what I understand is correct, then the verbiage leading into the blog here is misleading. And, this is one of the critical first points to be made….curriculum should come from the faculty, not from elsewhere.

  3. Carl E Creasman Jr

    Thank you for changing the language to show that James (who is my friend) made the course. He is a Dean. That is a vital piece of information, though not necessarily the most important, to explain my opposition. Valencia has long stood by the historic concept that faculty create and “own” the curriculum. That a Dean or any other non-faculty member proposed a course is nice…but not in keeping with our principles. Secondly, as Lee noted, the core principles of what is being proposed is already covered, either directly or indirectly in other current Social Science courses that are part of Gen Ed and available to students. Thirdly, Criminal Justice, at Valencia, is not a Social Science course. I realize that CJ may be in a the Social Sciences elsewhere, but just because History, as a discipline, is in Humanities elsewhere should not mean that I could propose History courses to be placed into another Gen Ed division’s “bucket” of courses. This is a very bad precedent to set, the idea of anyone outside of a program deciding to simply stick classes they want or like into that other program or area.

    Fourth, as I understand it, the course prefix and numbering is not actually criminal justice, but rather that some “similar” course from the state list was taken and modified. If accurate, then that again is a bad precedent. The state lists broad verbiage for the course description, but not so someone can take it and twist it. Fifth, as I understand it, this course is in no way required or needed for the CJ program (where it should be housed anyway). On these two, if my information is incorrect, by all means correct me.

    Look, I can appreciate the passion of anyone who wants to see a course come to life. I’ve had that same feeling for some History courses. And if the Criminal Justice faculty wish to teach this class or one like it, then I encourage them to create the course and put it into the catalog as a CJ course. If the “need” is that high and could be a nice topic for students to learn about…by all means go do that in the CJ program. Do not, though, try to stick it into the program area of another area of the College.

    I am strongly opposed to this effort.

  4. Deidre Holmes DuBois

    What does the cryptic reference to “issues with faculty load” mean?

    • Karen Marie Borglum

      I believe the issue was that the addition of this course may decrease enrollment in other Social Science courses thereby potentially causing issues in faculty load.

  5. Subhas Rampersaud

    I teach two sections of State and Local Government, and while I acknowledge the effort in James McDonald’s proposal, I also suspect that there are considerable similarities , perhaps duplication, between his proposed course and what already exists.

  6. Scott Creamer

    In our social sciences division meeting recently on the Osceola campus, faculty expressed similar arguments against and concerns over this proposal to those expounded by Dean Lee Thomas and Professor Carl Creasman above. Generally, social sciences faculty did not support it.

  7. Tyler Branz

    I find many of the Course Outcomes and Topics in CCJ 2283 to be almost concurrent with the course outcomes available in the political science department (US Government, State and Local Politics and International Relations). Understanding the levels of government, public services and how to proceed toward reform are among the most essential pillars of the political science curriculum. Focus on police power in State and Local as well as focus on the Bill of Rights in US Gov show that these topics and outcomes are already a part of the general education program. Further, the content in CCJ 2283 may not fully entail the context of how police and public safety fit into the larger role of the federal, state and local governments. Therefore, I encourage the curriculum committee to reject the CCJ 2283 proposal for introduction into the Gen Ed listing; instead, refer to the academic content currently established in the General Education courses.​

  8. Melonie Sexton

    I find that there are a couple of issues with placing this class within the Institutional hours for the Social Sciences.

    1. Criminal Justice and its associated topics are not considered a social science. I think that is the biggest and most obvious problem at hand. A social science is a field that studies society and human behavior. Studying the role of law enforcement in society is too narrow of a concept. To be a social science, one has to have questions broadly relating to groups of people and their behavior as a whole. Psychology – the study of the human mind and behavior. Anthropology – the study of mankind, history, and culture. Even Economics makes a better case for being classified as a social science- it is the study of human decision-making and the factors that influence those behaviors within a consumerist market. ​

    2. Since Criminal Justice is not a social science, I am left wondering, what is the scientific purpose of this topic? Or in other words, what are the research questions and methodologies being taught? In a true social science, we learn how the scientific method is applied to each field’s theories and hypotheses. What are the hypotheses of Criminal Justices studies? What research methodology is employed to answer the relevant questions? Instead, to me, it seems like this class took the methodologies of other social sciences (psychology, political science, sociology) and paired them with a pro-law enforcement pedagogy.

    3. If we allow a class as specific as this to be added to the Gen Ed curriculum, we risk opening the door for ANY class of personal interest to be included. Is understanding the need for law enforcement important? Yes, absolutely. However, this class seems to have an underlying agenda. I wonder if this class would include teachings about views that may be in direct opposition with its educators. Furthermore, just because there is a current social debate happening in our nation does not mean we should create a class for that issue and offer it as a social science just to reach a greater audience. Again, that would set the precedent for a number of other courses to come in and essentially dilute what is truly a social science class. By taking a specific topic from another field and adding a spin of “society” insults the true nature of the social sciences.

    Allow me explain my point further with a specific example: I believe that the issue of drug vaccination is a huge and relevant topic within today’s society. We have diseases that were essentially eradicated making a comeback because parents either don’t have the proper education about medicine or they willfully chose to ignore the research. What’s to stop me from designing a course that studies the importance of vaccines in society and adding it to the curriculum? My class could look at the biological factors involved in creating vaccines and then we can elaborate on how they are applied in society. We could discuss the societal benefit to having “herd immunity”. We could discuss the psychological ramifications of not being vaccinated and how that might affect your development. I could go on, but my point is this- does this class now count as a social science? Or is it simply a natural science course touching on a few aspects of social science?

  9. Andrew Piercy

    I have heard that this proposal is not going forward and I support this outcome.


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