Faculty vote to approve Master’s of Criminal Justice

The decision to move forward with a Master’s of Criminal Justice program offering was approved by a 56-27 vote by the Simpson faculty during a meeting held Tuesday.

Last year, a proposal for adding a Criminal Justice Master’s program was put together and went to the Educational Policy and Curriculum Committee. The EPCC is a committee made up of 10 professors, two from each department. The committee votes on proposals about changes in courses, majors, degrees or academic programs. The EPCC passed the proposal, which was then placed on 28-day waiting period before going to the full faculty for a vote where it was defeated by a narrow margin of 44-43.

Lora Friedrich, associate professor of sociology, said she feels after reworking the proposal, it was ready to be voted on again.

“[Last year], EPCC voted and sent it to the full faculty and it was defeated by the full faculty by a very narrow margin,” Friedrich said. “Our department brought the proposal back, and over the last year, we have been working on addressing faculty concerns in order to strengthen the proposal. It has been changed to reflect some of the concerns that were raised last year.”

Friedrich addressed one issue that people have had with the proposal, saying that the reason the proposal is being reconsidered so soon is because there is a demand and a need for a graduate program for criminal justice in central Iowa.

“Simpson has a great reputation in central Iowa and the criminal justice program is one of the best programs in the state,” Friedrich said. “For us to have a master’s program, people already know or assume that it will be a quality program and they will want to do it.”

According to Griffith, now that the proposal has been approved, there are more steps involved.

“The next question is to start the outside of the college approval process, which would include notification of the state of Iowa and our higher education accrediting association,” Griffith said. “There are several steps after it’s approved before it can be implemented.”

Carolyn Dallinger, assistant professor of criminal justice and social work, said that she wants to keep Simpson’s strong liberal arts focus for the new master’s program.

“The liberal arts is important to me and I think the faculty that we have here will incorporate the liberal arts institution [into the Master’s of Criminal Justice program],” Dallinger said.

John Pauley, professor of philosophy and religion, said a Master’s of Criminal Justice program will help strengthen the well-being of the community.

“More education with stronger emphasis on social values will help [professionals in the criminal justice field] learn about the nature of their community and are more capable of dealing with issues,” Pauley. “[This program] is the wave of the future and is a great thing for Simpson to do.”

Sophomore Kieran Bowe also believes the program would benefit students.

“It allows you to get a master’s degree in one place,” Bowe said. “From my point of view, it would be convenient to get it here at Simpson. It would make it easier to further my education.”

Griffith said the program is a great opportunity for Simpson College.

“It brings Simpson into sort of a wider community,” Griffith said. “We are not going to be a large research institution or master’s institution, but this is an opportunity to add a specific program and build on the historic strength. We think that this is a real exciting opportunity and I hope that students think so, too.”