Criminology and Criminal Justice Department

criminal justice students in front of a courthouse


The goal of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice is to provide students with a strong interdisciplinary foundation. Graduates are prepared to respond appropriately and ethically in challenging “real world” situations as they move on to careers in criminal justiceemergency and disaster management or for further education.

Our  Criminal Justice Program is one of WCU's largest, with residential or online options. The online Emergency and Disaster Management Program also has a residential minor. Each program of study brings together theory and hands-on practice through the curriculum, internships, independent studies, and student-faculty interaction, a hallmark of our department.

In conjunction with the goals of the University, the College, and the Department, our programs are based on the philosophy of a liberal arts education, grounded in social science methodologies.

Our curriculum emphasizes the interdependence of theory and practice in addressing "real world problems." Our emphasis on application guided by scholarship provides a strong, interdisciplinary foundation for future criminal justice and emergency and disaster management professionals.

The focus for undergraduate students is to achieve mastery of fundamental academic competencies and a basic level of expertise in the fields of criminal justice and emergency and disaster management.

The faculty are committed to provide high-quality education in criminal justice, emergency and disaster management, and criminology to our majors, other students across the University, and to the professional community.

Special Announcement

Professor Rebecca Tsosie, Regents' Professor of Law and Faculty Co-Chair for the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona, will give a community lecture entitled Land, Culture and Community: Native American Sovereignty and National Identity in an Era of Self-Determination.  In this presentation, Professor Tsosie will discuss a number of timely issues affecting Indian country. The lecture will occur on March 15th at 6:00 p.m. in the H.F. Robinson Administration Building, Room 101.

Faculty and Staff

Our faculty have a wide range of expertise, experience, and interests. Recognized nationally for their research, these faculty members’ practical knowledge has been developed on the front lines of the criminal justice system in courtrooms, prisons, juvenile centers, and on the streets.

Name Contact
Dr. Stephen Brown, Department Head Belk 410
Dr. Karen Mason, Assistant Department Head; Director of the Administration of Justice Program Belk 405D
Dr. Lisa Briggs; Director, Emergency & Disaster Management Program Belk 405A
Ms. Connie Bryson, Administrative Assistant Belk 410

Dr. Julie Brancale Belk 410K
Dr. Cyndy Caravelis Belk 410N
Dr. Julia Crowley Belk 410B
Dr. John “Andy” Hansen Belk 410G

Dr. Thomas Johnson Belk 405C
Dr. Al Kopak Belk 410E
Professor J. Tom Morgan Belk 410D
Dr. Ophir Sefiha Belk 410J
Dr. Bethany Van Brown Belk 410A
Dr. Jamie Vaske Belk 410F
Professor Aaron Vassey, Distance Learning Coordinator Belk 410

Dr. Tasha Youstin Belk 410C
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