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ASU to offer criminology, nonprofit leadership courses in Tucson

December 10, 2012

Beginning in January, Arizona State University will offer selected high-demand undergraduate and graduate courses in Criminology and Criminal Justice and Nonprofit Leadership in the Tucson area.

The new courses will provide expanded, high-quality academic options for aspiring and rising law enforcement and public service professionals, as well as nonprofit and philanthropic organization practitioners living in southern Arizona.

The expanded course offerings were formally announced Dec. 6 in Greater Tucson during a gathering of alumni, current and future students, parents and university supporters. The event, “An Evening with ASU,” featured remarks from ASU President Michael M. Crow and Jonathan Koppell, dean of ASU’s College of Public Programs. Christine K. Wilkinson, president of the ASU Alumni Association and senior vice president and secretary of the university, serves as mistress of ceremonies for the event, which took place at the Hilton El Conquistador in Oro Valley.

Crow provided an update regarding recent university achievements, and joined Koppell in underscoring the significant opportunity ASU’s expansion to Tucson promises for Southern Arizona.

"For nearly four decades the College of Public Programs has served Greater Tucson through the School of Social Work. We are excited to now build and add to that legacy of service through a major expansion of our programs and academic options in Tucson," said Jonathan Koppell, dean of ASU's College of Public Programs. "These unique programs will provide broad access and hands-on learning to students in Southern Arizona, who will in turn become leaders, and make lasting positive impacts in their communities. That is what the College of Public Programs’ mission is all about." Koppell added.

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, within ASU’s College of Public Programs, will offer two courses in Tucson during the spring 2013 term. One course, CRJ 461, focuses on domestic violence. The other, CRJ 462, examines the behavior and impact of gangs. It’s the first time the school has offered classes outside the Phoenix area.

The Foundations in Nonprofit Management course (NLM 510) and the Nonprofit Finance course (NLM 520) will be offered by ASU’s Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation. Housed within the College of Public Programs, the Lodestar Center has a strong existing presence in Greater Tucson and Southern Arizona.

With more 60 percent of the nation’s government and nonprofit workforce expected to retire within the next 10 years, academic programs to help prepare dedicated leaders to move into key positions in the government and nonprofit sectors have become increasingly necessary and urgent.

America's nonprofit organizations are being called upon as never before to deliver essential human services which enhance the quality of life in communities. Yet these vitally important organizations are only as effective as the individuals who serve in their leadership and management roles.

As a nationally-recognized leader in nonprofit education, research and technical assistance for those who lead, manage and support nonprofits, the ASU Lodestar Center provides programs that advance knowledge in nonprofit leadership and management, social enterprise and philanthropy.

“We are already deeply embedded in Tucson with our Nonprofit Management Institute and its largely Tucson-based instructional group, along with our ongoing professional development education trainings, technical assistance, convening and research activities,” said Robert Ashcraft, executive director of the Lodestar Center and associate professor within ASU’s School of Community Resources and Development.  

“The future for our communities are bright as graduates of our programs span the nonprofit, public and business sectors to improve the quality of life for all citizens,” Ashcraft said. “We are delighted to offer our first two graduate-level courses in nonprofit leadership and management, as part of our Master of Nonprofit Studies program, to a wider audience in the Tucson area.”

The nonprofit leadership courses will be offered from 6-8:15 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, on the Pima County Community College campus, 2202 W. Anklam, Tucson.

Scott Decker, director of ASU’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, said a bachelor’s degree is increasingly becoming a prerequisite for entrance and advancement in policing, corrections, law, social work and other justice and social service fields.

"Offering classes leading to the BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice expands the educational opportunities for residents of Tucson, Pinal County and southeastern Arizona in important ways,” Decker said.

“With thousands of criminal justice professionals in the region, this degree will enhance the chances of obtaining a job, being promoted and expanding the job prospects for hundreds of Arizonans. The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice looks forward to bringing its high quality curriculum and instructors to the Tucson area."

The school’s domestic violence course, CRJ 461, offers an opportunity to learn about the various facets
of domestic abuse, including its cause, impact on victims, and solutions. The program expansion to the
Tucson area comes as the state of Arizona is experiencing an increase in deaths caused by domestic violence and an increase in the number of children placed in the foster care system due to abuse.

“Students who understand the nature of the problem, its causes and the responses to this crime will be better prepared to increase public safety and reduce victimization," Decker said.

CRJ 462 examines the dynamics of street and prison gangs, gang violence, the prosecution of gang members and alternatives to combat gangs. 

“For those in the criminal justice system, understanding gangs and the dynamics of gangs is critically important,” said Richard Harper, a retired Tucson police lieutenant with more than 30 years in law enforcement.

Harper will teach CRJ 462 as a faculty associate for the ASU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. The course is offered from 5:40-8:30 p.m., Mondays. CRJ 461 Domestic Violence is offered from 9-10:15 a.m., Mondays and Wednesdays.

The criminology and criminal justice courses will be offered at the Tortolita Building, within the Tucson Resource Center, 340 N. Commerce Park Loop, Tucson, which houses ASU’s School of Social Work, Tucson Component. ASU began offering social work courses in the Tucson area nearly 40 years ago Today ASU MSW and BSW students can complete their professional degrees entirely in Tucson.