Criminal justice has been approved as a major and, with board and SACS approval, will accept students for the fall 2012 term, Academic Vice President Dr. Bradford Sample has announced.
Dr. Kevin Clauson Bryan becomes one of “a small number of Christian colleges with criminal justice programs,” according to Professor Kevin Clauson, director of the program. Unlike criminal justice majors at other colleges—and like other Bryan majors—the criminal justice program will be permeated with a biblical worldview emphasis. As well, the program probably will reach beyond law enforcement to international issues such as human trafficking, slavery, and terrorism.
“Most criminal justice programs start with a sociological approach,” according to Dr. Clauson. “That means considering what are the trends and where are things going. Ours will be more of a philosophical approach, dealing with what is right, what is just, what is justice, and take off from there.”
Across the country, criminal justice has been a growing field. “Before 9/11, criminal justice and law enforcement were among the top 10 growth areas for jobs. For several years after 9/11, it was number one. Not that jobs are driving this, although it’s good to know the jobs are there. But (Dr.) Ron (Petitte) and I thought that criminal justice is a field where Christians need to be involved.”
Classes in the new major will come from a legal rather than technical angle to the issues of criminal justice. Students will be introduced to criminal and constitutional law and public administration rather than extensive courses on law enforcement methods and procedures.
“Most criminal justice students know how to shoot a gun, and many of the other areas of law enforcement will be covered in police certification programs new officers usually are required to take,” Professor Clauson said. “Here, the Philosophy of Law course is foundational, and everything else grows out of that.”