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 is rated as one of the best online emergency management programs by BestColleges.com.  The Emergency and Disaster Management Program is also offered as 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.

Alum Receives Prestigious Award

Detective Adam Wilson is one of two detectives from the Gastonia Police Department who have been selected for recognition in a prestigious national awards program.  The National Association of Police Organizations sponsors the TOP COPS award designed to educate the public about law enforcement heroes.  Detective Wilson and his colleague, Detective Heather Houser, have received the Honorable Mention Award for North Carolina award stemming from their work on a human trafficking case.  The victim in this case credits the detectives with rescuing her and providing an opportunity for her to lead a productive life.

The Twenty-Fifth Annual TOP COPS Awards® Dinner will be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, May 14. Many celebrities from NBC’s hit programs Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and CBS’s Blue Bloods, Cold Case, NCIS and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation will serve as award presenters. In past years, civic leaders including the president and vice president as well as the attorney general of the United States have helped honor the award winners by attending and speaking at the ceremony.

Detective Wilson participated in the online Criminal Justice program and graduated in 2011.

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
828.227.2174
browns@wcu.edu

Dr_Steve_Brown

 

Dr. Karen Mason, Assistant Department Head; Director of the Administration of Justice Program Belk 405D
828.227.2814
kmason@wcu.edu
 
Dr. Lisa Briggs; Director, Emergency & Disaster Management Program Belk 405A
828.227.2180
lbriggs@wcu.edu

Dr_Lisa_Briggs

 

Ms. Connie Bryson, Administrative Assistant Belk 410
828.227.2172
csbryson@wcu.edu

Connie_Bryson

 

Dr. Cyndy Caravelis Belk 410N
828.227.2165
caravelis@wcu.edu

Dr_Cyndy_Caravelis

 

Dr. Julia Crowley Belk 410B
828.227.2815
jccrowley@wcu.edu

Dr_Julia_Crowley

 

Dr. John “Andy” Hansen Belk 410G
828.227.2145
jahansen@wcu.edu

Dr_Andy_Hansen

 

Dr. Thomas Johnson Belk 405C
828.227.2563
tjohnson@wcu.edu

Dr_Thomas_Johnson

 

Dr. Al Kopak Belk 410E
828.227.2328
amkopak@wcu.edu

Dr_Al_Kopak

 

Professor J. Tom Morgan Belk 410D
828.227.2749
jtmorgan@wcu.edu
 Morgan
Dr. Ophir Sefiha Belk 410J
828.227.2176
opsefiha@wcu.edu

Dr_Ophir_Sefiha

 

Dr. Bethany Van Brown Belk 410A
828.227.2172
blvanbrown@wcu.edu
 
Dr. Jamie Vaske Belk 410F
828.227.3615
jvaske@wcu.edu

Dr_Jamie_Vaske

 

Professor Aaron Vassey, Distance Learning Coordinator Belk 410
828.227.2172
pavassey@wcu.edu

Prof_Aaron_Vassey

 

Dr. Tasha Youstin Belk 410C
828.227.2858
tjyoustin@wcu.edu

Dr_Tasha_Youstin

 

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