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ASU celebrates official launch of new School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

November 21, 2006

Arizona State University officially launched the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. In a ceremony at ASU’s West campus, the inaugural event included introductory remarks by ASU President Michael Crow, followed by a keynote speech by Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor, and additional comments from campus Provost Mark Searle, and John Hepburn, dean of the College of Human Services.

Immediately following the ceremony, ASU hosted a panel discussion titled "Informing Criminal Justice Policy: Past Contributions and Future Needs." Distinguished panelists included Jack F. Harris, Police Chief, City of Phoenix; Michael D. Branham, director, Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections; and Barbara Broderick is the vice president of the American Probation and Parole Association and chief probation officer of the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department in Arizona.

“The unique story that is ASU’s West campus continues its incredible growth and success with our launch of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice,” said Hepburn. “As dean, I am proud of the many accomplishments that lie ahead for the college and for the new school. We look forward to expanding the partnerships we currently enjoy and are dedicated to becoming even more embedded in the community than we already are.”

In August, the Arizona Board of Regents approved a proposal to designate the department of Criminal Justice and Criminology as the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, a move certain to ensure its ongoing development as one of the leading criminal justice programs in the United States.

The School, located within the College of Human Services, currently offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology and a professionally-oriented Master’s of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. To continue serving the region through its use-inspired research, the School will ultimately create new degree programs, including a doctoral degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice, a new master’s degree and bachelor’s degree.

“This is an excellent time to be involved in criminal justice at Arizona State University,” said Scott Decker, director of the new School. “The School has an exceptional, interdisciplinary program with impressive, nationally recognized faculty that expands knowledge to a wide number of constituents—students, alumni, public policy makers, and other criminologists."

Faculty members within the School have international reputations and have held offices in professional associations, served on numerous criminal justice task forces and committees, and received various scholarly awards. They have served as council members, editors and associate editors of scholarly journals. Faculty research includes attention to major components of the criminal justice system, as well as the study of criminal behavior and law.

At ASU, criminology and criminal justice is a broad discipline, encompassing the scientific study of crime, criminals, the lawmaking process, the criminal justice system, and the treatment of offenders. The program draws upon many different disciplines including, sociology, psychology, political science, economics, history, mathematics and law. The School enjoys collaborative relationships with several academic units within ASU, including the School of Social Work, the School of Public Affairs, and the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

Through ongoing partnerships with government and private agencies, the School will be on the cutting edge of criminal justice issues that will substantively impact local and regional criminal justice outcomes. Its criminological research will link science and theory to matters of effective and responsible public policy.

“Issues such as human trafficking, drug and weapon smuggling, correctional practices, and a host of related issues make the mission of the School integral to the state,” said Decker. “Our faculty are embedded in the community through their many service activities, providing technical assistance to a wide range of agencies focused on reducing crime and improving community safety.”

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice also fosters a culture of scholarship and academic excellence among its students. Graduates of the School have been highly successful in academic and in practice positions. Graduates find opportunities in the expanding academic field of criminal justice research and teaching, all the operating agencies of criminal justice, in the many private and non-profit organizations that provide services or make policy recommendations.

“The launch of the School signifies a new beginning and a group of faculty, led by Scott Decker, who will write the next chapter of success,” said Hepburn. “We remain committed to building and strengthening the relationships and partnerships that help define the quality of life in our community.”