Department News

Two Majors Seeing Major Growth at Scranton

Two majors at Scranton – criminal justice and history – have seen the number of incoming students triple in the past three years for the same reasons: cogent explanations of career employment opportunities following graduation; having an engaging faculty and providing appealing courses.

“Parents want to see routes to employment and they have heard about new technology-based programs in criminal justice,” said James Roberts, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice and Criminology. “We are still just as good as we have always been with the traditional criminal justice career areas of police, courts and corrections. We have been blessed to build off what we already had into new areas of crime analysis. Police departments and private sector firms are recruiting for positions in cyber security and crime analysis and the salaries are quite good – some start in the range of $70,000 or $80,000.”

The number of incoming Scranton students declaring a major in criminal justice increased from 13 in 2017-18 to 39 in 2019-20.

The increase in history majors at Scranton is bucking the national trend. According to surveys by the American Historical Association, overall enrollments in history courses have declined by nearly 8 percent from 2013-14 to 2016-17, before stabilizing. Scranton has seen the number of incoming students declaring history as their first major rise from a low of 5 in 2017-18 to 16 in 2019-20. The total number of history majors, which includes those who have changed their major as well those who declare history as a second major, also increased from 48 to 62 during the same period.

David J. Dzurec III, Ph.D., professor and chair of the History Department at Scranton, said parents often ask what their son and daughter can do with a degree in history and are “dubious” when he tells them “anything they want.” However, he then provides them with examples of recent graduates who have gone onto to medical school, business and consulting firms in addition to all of the graduates who have gone to law school. The concrete examples of success in a wide range of fields win over many of the skeptical parents.

According to Dr. Dzurec, another factor contributing to the increase is the department’s enrollment is the “exceptional faculty” who he noted are accessible and “engaged with our students.” The University’s Jesuit education requires all students to take courses in the humanities, which “allows us access to students, and when we get them in the classroom they really begin to understand how much fun history can be,” said Dr. Dzurec. “So even if a student doesn't come in as a history major, by the time that class graduates, the number of history majors has grown exponentially.”

Dr. Roberts also credits the faculty for the growth of the major. Their expertise allowed for the development of new content in the areas of cybercrime and crime analysis. The department opened in 2017 the Center for the Analysis and Prevention of Crime, which provides a vehicle for developing partnerships with local and regional criminal justice and social service agencies to use faculty expertise and state-of-the-art technology and techniques for the sophisticated analysis of data to more efficiently utilize resources or to evaluate of the effectiveness of programming. The center also offers a Student Analyst Program, which allows students to work directly with criminal justice agencies and faculty on research, data collection and analysis.

“Our faculty are highly trained, professionally active, publishing and are at the top of their fields. All are doing research and taking students under their wings, giving them practical experience as undergraduates through the center,” said Dr. Roberts.

Dr. Dzurec and Dr. Roberts also credited new courses for an increase in interest in their fields. Criminal justice developed new courses crime analysis and cybercrime. Travel courses to Italy, Germany and England offered in history have been very popular, as has an “Indigenous Peoples of America” course that took students to the Navajo nation in Arizona. Also popular is a “Disney’s American History” course that examines the accuracy of Disney movie portrayals of historical figures and concludes with a trip to Disney World in Florida.

In addition, both say Scranton’s recent 3+3 programs with Boston College, Duquesne, Penn State and Villanova law schools have interested students who wish to pursue law degrees after graduation. They also credit the support their departments have received from the University as a contributing factor as well.

Recipient of the 2019 RCPS Kaleidoscope Award 

 Dr. Ismail Onat , Assistant Professor of The Sociology/Criminal Justice& Criminology Department at the University of Scranton, received The 2019 RCPS Kaleidoscope Award. The Rutgers Center on Public Security (RCPS) presents the Kaleidoscope Award each year to a recipient who has demonstrated innovative applications of Risk Terrain Modeling that advance research and practice for the public good. Dr. Onat has advanced Risk Terrain Modeling (RTM)throughgh innovative applications to terrorism, drugs and crime analysis from an international perspective. He incorporates professional judgment into risk analysis and research projects that are place-based and actionable, and has demonstrated a unique ability to help practitioners maximize local resources and expertise to solve problems. This is exemplified in his participation with The Center for the Analysis and Prevention of Crime—housed in the University of Scranton’s Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Criminology department—where he combines his RTM knowledge with practitioner insight and student learning to enhance the technological and analytical capabilities of students, police officers, and other criminal justice agencies in the regional community.

 
Scranton’s Criminal Justice Program Receives Prestigious Certification

The University of Scranton joins just nine other colleges in the nation with criminal justice programs certified by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. The University’s criminal justice bachelor’s degree program received notice of certification by the Academy in February. The certification extends until 2026.

The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) certification is designed to evaluate evidence-based compliance that meets or exceeds all academic standards set by the ACJS executive board for associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s level criminal justice programs. The certification is based on outcome assessment of evidence of a program’s quality and effectiveness. ACJS academic certification standards assess the program’s mission, structure and curriculum, faculty, admissions, student services, integrity, quality and effectiveness, and outcomes for graduates leading to employment or graduate study, among other factors.

“This achievement did not happen overnight. It developed over a period of years due to our dedicated faculty, past and present, as well an administration who has supported our numerous departmental initiatives,” said Harry Dammer, Ph.D., professor and chair of the University’s Sociology, Criminal Justice and Criminology Department, who orchestrated the certification process for the program. 

The ACJS is an international association with more than 2,800 members that fosters professional and scholarly activities in the field of criminal justices, according to its website. Members represent every state and multiple countries including nearly every institution of higher learning with a criminal justice/criminology program. The association promotes criminal justice education, research and policy analysis for both educators and practitioners.

The University of Scranton offers a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. The University also offers minors in criminal justice and criminology.

New Applied Sociology Minor

We are happy to introduce the creation of a new Applied Sociology Minor.  Applied sociology refers to when practitioners use sociological theories and methods outside of a university setting in order to answer research questions or problems for specific clientele or to promote social change.  Applied sociology is useful in obtaining accurate statistics documenting a social problem, designing programs to address social issues, and for program/policy evaluation.  Furthermore, the job growth rate for sociologists, including  applied sociologists, is expected to be higher than the average job growth rate.

Students interested in an applied sociology minor, as opposed to a general sociology minor, will need to focus their attention on understanding social organizations and conducting community-based learning projects.

For questions about the Applied Sociology Minor, please see Dr. Loreen Wolfer or Dr. Meghan Ashlin-Rich in the Department of Sociology/Criminal Justice & Criminology.

For more information about our department, faculty, majors, and minors, visit our website:

http://www.scranton.edu/academics/cas/soc-cj/ 

  • Internshipsplus or minus

    Hands-On Experience:

    Internships, available to students in their junior and senior years, offer invaluable experience that can bring concepts and theories to life. Students can sample potential careers, build their resumes, and learn new skills. Sociology majors have recently interned at organizations such as:

    • Family Court of Lackawanna County
    • United Neighborhood Centers
    • Scranton Counseling Center
    • Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce
    • Lackawanna County Bureau of Children and Youth Services
    • Economic Development Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania
    • Regional Hospital Social Service Department
    • American Red Cross
    • United Way of Lackawanna County
    • Catholic Social Services of Lackawanna County

    Criminal justice students have completed internships in settings such as:

    • District Attorney’s office
    • Federal court administrator’s office
    • State and municipal police agencies
    • Private security
    • Drug and rehabilitation services
    • Federal probation
    • U.S. Marshals
    • U.S. Secret Service
    • County and state prisons
    • Juvenile court
  • Honor Societiesplus or minus

    ALPHA KAPPA DELTA

    International Sociology Honor Society

         Alpha Kappa Delta had its beginnings at the University of Southern California in 1920.  Its purpose is to promote in each of the various chapters an interest in social problems and activities leading to social welfare.

         Alpha Kappa Delta has chapters in forty-two states, the District of Columbia, and Canada.  The international organization publishes the journal Social Inquiry, and each year conducts a research symposium.

         An undergraduate candidate in the College of Arts and Sciences must attain a 3.0 Cumulative Quality Point Index or higher in all course work completed, a 3.0 average or higher in at least eighteen credit hours of sociology, and be in the top 35% of his/her graduating class.

    Scranton Chapter Founded 1980

    Chapter Representative:
    Dr. Loreen Wolfer
    Department of Sociology/Criminal Justice

    ALPHA PHI SIGMA

    National Criminal Justice Honor Society

           Alpha Phi Sigma was founded in 1942 at Washington State University.  Its purpose is to provide leadership for the criminal justice profession by promoting academic excellence through the recognition of scholarship, and by assistance in the development of professional and personal leadership among students and practitioners.

         Alpha Phi Sigma is the nationally recognized honor society for students in criminal justice.  The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences granted Alpha Phi Sigma affiliate status in 1975, and each year both organizations hold their annual conventions concurrently.  In 1981 Alpha Phi Sigma was admitted as an associated member in the Association of College Honor Societies.

         Undergraduate candidates for induction into Alpha Phi Sigma must have a minimum Grade Point Average of 3.2 overall, a minimum GPA of 3.2 in criminal justice courses (at least four), and must have standing in the top 35% of their class.

    Epsilon Zeta Chapter
    Established in 1982
    Chapter Advisor:
    James C. Roberts, Ph.D.
    Department of Sociology/Criminal Justice
  • Employment Outlookplus or minus

    FORMER CRIMINAL JUSTICE STUDENTS ATTAIN SUCCESS IN MANY JOBS

    Physician, United States Army

    Deputy United States Marshal

    Investigator, Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General

    Courtroom Deputy Clerk, United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

    Passaic Valley Investigations, LLC

    Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Deputy Clerk, United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

    Special Agent, United States Office of Personnel Management

    Lieutenant, United States Secret Service Uniformed Division (The White House)

    Retired Captain, Pennsylvania State Police

    Heads of public safety at Kings College, Wilkes-Barre

    District Attorney of Lackawanna County

    Deputy United States Marshal

    Field Office Chief, United States Defense Security Service

    Deputy United States Marshal

    Confidential Investigator, New York City Office of the Inspector General

    Police Officer, Specialized Training Section, NYPD

    Special Agent, United States Secret Service

    Agent, SIGAR

    United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service "NCIS"

    Lieutenant, Police Department Community Relations Officer

    Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Special Agent, United States Department of Homeland Security

    Detective, United States Park Police (Washington, DC)

    Deputy Chief, Fairfax County (VA) Police

    Retired Captain, Pennsylvania State Police

    President Judge, Court of Common Pleas

    Sergeant, Pennsylvania State Police 

    State police fire marshal

    United States Navy Judge Advocate officer

    Mayor, City of Carbondale, PA 

    District Attorney of Pike County

    Registered Nurse, Hospice Care specialist

    Investigator, Pennsylvania State Police

    Magisterial District Judge

    Explosives Detection K-9 Team Police Officer