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UMass Dartmouth adds majors in crime and justice, women's studies

The new majors in the College of Arts and Sciences will prepare students for a multitude of careers

Two new majors -- Women's Studies and Crime and Justice Studies -- in UMass Dartmouth's College of Arts and Sciences will prepare students for a multitude of careers, diversify the campus population and keep the university current with trends at other institutions.

The new Crime and Justice Studies major is a conversion of the Criminal Justice Option in the Bachelor of Arts in Sociology degree which has existed for 20 years. The Women's Studies major will be offered in addition to the current minor degree.

Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences William Hogan said, "Having majors available in these areas makes our campus more competitive with other universities and allows us to offer a more complete range of majors to attract students. Availability of these programs also signals potential faculty that we are a campus committed to the goals of the new majors."

As of fall 2006, more than 200 students were enrolled in the Criminal Justice Option. Dr. Susan Krumholz, director of the Crime and Justice Studies program, said that conversion to a stand-alone major will translate into a more defined program, encourage creation of new courses and strengthen its interdisciplinary nature.

She said the program would prepare students for positions in legal and research fields, social welfare, court and justice administration and at state and federal agencies. Significantly, it would also help students gain acceptance into graduate and law schools.

A semester-long internship is required. Students in the past have worked in local probation departments, at the Department of Social Services and at peer mentoring and other youth program sites.

"This program is unique enough to benefit students from all around the state and beyond," Krumholz said. "To my knowledge, it will be the first at the state university campuses to have a justice studies focus and provide students with a wider range of abilities and training than other programs."

Dr. Jeannette Riley, director of Women's Studies, anticipates that several students in the minor will opt for the new major and others will choose Women's Studies as part of a double major. Dean Hogan feels the major will appeal to non-traditional students---namely more mature students with extensive life experiences who are balancing family and work and not presently enrolled at UMass Dartmouth.

Online learning is one feature. Particularly with the Women's Studies major, students can earn a significant portion of their required credits through online and blended courses in which students meet face-to-face with the instructor some of the time and engage via online communication for the remainder of time. A Sloan Foundation grant to UMass Dartmouth through the UMass system and UMassOnline is funding initiatives to create and offer blended courses as part of the Women's Studies program.

The curriculum includes five core classes in feminist theories and methodologies and then focus on concentration areas in gender studies, politics, justice and policy, cross cultural inquiry or arts and letters.

"This major contributes to the UMass  mission and vision and the broad goals of a liberal arts and sciences education to prepare students to live and work in an increasingly diverse culture. In particular, the program helps prepare students to understand the role of diversity within the nation and world, especially pertaining to the ways in which gender is linked to race, ethnicity, class, sexuality and other differences," Riley said.

Past minor recipients have successfully entered psychology, English, history, women's studies, social work and law graduate programs. They hold jobs in education, the health sciences, social services, editing and law enforcement.

Author:  "John Hoey"
Date:  08-Nov-2007
Department:   College of Arts & Sciences

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