Edmund F. McGarrell
The School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University is the nation’s oldest continuous degree-granting program in criminal justice.
Since 1935, MSU has been a leader in criminal justice scholarship—with its pioneering research, undergraduate and graduate education and collaboration with criminal justice agencies, private firms, and communities.
Today the school focuses on the future by focusing attention on issues of crime and security including identity theft and computer security, DNA technology, international crime and security, school safety, domestic violence and the challenges facing an increasingly diverse society.
The school is a leader in innovative teaching in master’s degree and certificate programs offered online and a revised Ph.D. program that better addresses doctoral scholarship in the new century.
The school remains thoroughly engaged in the crucial issues facing state and local communities through community policing, strategic problem solving, crime analysis, evaluation research and basic research on a variety of criminal justice issues.
MSU prides itself on applying knowledge from the university to real-world matters. The School of Criminal Justice is at the forefront of working collaboratively to use knowledge to solve problems and assist communities locally and globally to enhance the quality of life and ensure justice.
Explore this Web site and learn why the School of Criminal Justice at MSU is:
- A center of academic excellence, at both graduate and undergraduate levels, nationally and internationally
- An engaged community and a vital resource that addresses critical problems and enhances the quality of life in Michigan, the nation, and the world
- A student-friendly environment with a diverse and talented group of students
- An innovative school with a proud heritage committed to a tradition of excellence
Director, Edmund McGarrell
Michigan State University is the nation's pioneering Land-Grant university. One hundred-sixty years ago the focus was on connecting scientific research to key agricultural issues. Today, MSU stands as a "World-Grant" university linking research to the pressing issues facing Michigan communities and communities across the globe. This also describes the mission of the School of Criminal Justice. Our faculty and students are engaged in cutting-edge research and the translation of that research to address pressing problems. Examples of current projects focused within the U.S. include police integrity and use of force, community supervision of probationers and parolees, homicide and violence, gangs, and the organization of public safety resources in an era of tight budgets. True to the World-Grant mission, our research occurs across the globe. Just looking at publications and new projects launched in the last few months reveals research and engagement in Australia, Croatia, India, Namibia, South Korea, Ukraine, as well as two projects in Puerto Rico. Perhaps most emblematic of the School's influence and reach is Mahesh Nalla's newly edited book, Community Policing in Indigenous Communities (with Graeme Newman).
Whether it is work in Detroit, Flint, or Lansing, or in remote areas of the world, when it comes to criminal justice and criminological research, this School is likely to be involved.
School of Criminal Justice Mission Statement
Although there are certainly many contributing factors to the success of the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, three are paramount. First, the School has maintained its strong academic emphasis within the context of professional education. A professional school will, by its very nature and mission, maintain close liaison with its constituency, will sponsor the kinds of research necessary to cope with current and long term problems, and will offer a curriculum that reflects the changing needs of the student, practitioner, and academic communities. However, we are not, a professional school in the sense of providing a narrow, technical education. While a number of schools of criminal justice throughout the country have followed such a narrow model, the School of Criminal Justice at MSU continues to stress the importance of a broadly based liberal arts education. This commitment has, and will continue to be reflected in the School’s curriculum, research and public service.
A second factor that has significantly contributed to the success of the School of Criminal Justice has been its holistic approach to the study of criminal justice. Through two comprehensive revisions of the School’s curricula over the past six years we have developed an integrated curriculum at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. All degree candidates (graduate and undergraduate) are required to complete coursework which can be termed “system wide” in emphasis rather than specializing solely in a narrow occupational area within the field of criminal justice. Such coursework broadens the conceptual base for students majoring in criminal justice as well as those who complete coursework in criminal justice on an elective basis.
The third important contribution to the success of the School of Criminal Justice is the link that the School has, and continues to maintain, between academia and those practicing criminal justice in the agency world. Such a link is reflected in the School’s commitment to improving the quality of criminal justice training.
The training of practitioners is an integral part of the School of Criminal Justice. The training component provides the opportunity for academic theories to be shared with the field. By becoming involved with practitioners, the training component opens doors to agencies for field research and student placement opportunities. The feedback that accompanies both the training and the field work greatly assists the collaborative identification of new problems confronting criminal justice agencies and the refinement of thinking
School of Criminal Justice History
The School of Criminal Justice was founded in 1935 as the School of Public Administration and Public Safety. The School has maintained its leadership in police education and research as well as expanding its scholarly attention to criminal justice, forensics, security, and emerging crime and justice issues.
The following list of articles provides a variety of perspectives on the history and growth of the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. Copyright issues keep us from providing the full text of some of these. We have however, provided abstracts in those instances.
- "Mission Statement of the School, 1980-1997"
- "Genesis and Early History of Criminal Justice Studies at Michigan State University", A. F. Brandstatter (Paper presented at the Midwestern Criminal Justice Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, October 11-13, 1989)
- "The History of the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University 1935-1963", Wilbur Lewis Rykert, (Masters Thesis 1985).
- "The School of Criminal Justice: The Making of Super-sleuths in Olds Hall", Robert Bao, (MSU Alumni Magazine, March 1974)
- "The School of Criminal Justice - 50th Anniversary Jubilee", Author Unknown
- "Michigan State's School of Criminal Justice Celebrates 50th Anniversary", Robert C. Trojanowicz, (The Police Chief, August 1985)
- "MSU" Alan Harman, (Law and Order Magazine, March 1988)
We invite your memories, historical recollections, photos, articles, etc., and will include them on either this page or in our Scrapbook. Send information to Mary Lee Vandermoere or call her at (517) 355-2192.
In 1969, the faculty of the School of Criminal Justice adopted a School Philosophy statement that opened with: “The prevention of crime, the protection of life and property, the preservation of peace, the safeguarding of civil rights, and the maintenance of social order with justice and freedom for all, are essential to the functioning of a democratic society.” Today, the School remains committed to using research, education, and engaged outreach to enhance what the National Academies of Sciences’ Committee on Law and Justice has called the balance of “fairness and effectiveness.” Specifically, the mission of the School is to generate new knowledge, to apply that knowledge to solve justice-related problems, and to educate future leaders with a commitment to enhancing both effectiveness in reducing crime and victimization and fairness through the preservation of basic human and civil rights.
The School’s philosophy is evident in its strategic agenda.
Foremost we are committed to providing an excellent educational experience through our undergraduate and graduate degree programs, certificates, and specializations. At the undergraduate level we offer a bachelors of arts degree. We have made the degree more flexible so that students can pursue the rich variety of additional majors, second degrees and academic specializations offered at MSU. The School offers a security management specialization and students can pursue specializations that range from conservation and environmental law enforcement; Muslim studies; spatial information processing; women, gender, and social justice; and a variety of area studies programs. Students are encouraged to participate in internships and Study Abroad programs and two student associations assist students make connections to the professional community.
Our masters degree program is designed to support professionals seeking personal growth and to enhance their careers through continuing education as well as students preparing for doctoral study. The program is also offered in online format to better address the needs of professionals employed throughout the country and the world. The degree includes options for a security management specialization and certificates in homeland security, law enforcement intelligence analysis, and international focus. We anticipate a new professional masters degree in law enforcement intelligence and analysis to be launched in January 2007.
The School is also proud to offer a masters degree in forensic science. This degree attracts outstanding students pursuing one of three tracks: forensic anthropology, forensic biology, and forensic chemistry.
MSU is one of the three founding universities to offer a doctoral degree in criminal justice. The Ph.D. was an outgrowth of the Presidential Crime Commission of the late 1960s with the initial degree awarded in 1971. Since that time MSU Ph.D.’s in criminal justice have become leaders in academia, private research organizations, and governmental agencies. Indeed, our doctoral alumni include deans and professors in leading university programs throughout the U.S. and internationally as well as within national police organizations and the U.S. Department of Justice. We provide a challenging yet supportive academic environment and close mentoring relationships with faculty. Several studies have found recent graduates of our School to be the most productive faculty in terms of scholarly publication
Michigan State University has a long history and contemporary excellence in global engagement and international scholarship. Similarly, the School of Criminal Justice is committed to excellence in international scholarship. This is evident in our Study Abroad programs, faculty research, and the composition of our student body. The School is the home of the International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, the official journal of the International Division of the American Society of Criminology. Each year we host the Dae Chang International Visiting Scholar program that brings an exceptional international scholar to campus. Our graduate student body includes students from Australia, China, India, Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, with new additions each year and alumni in every continent. Our faculty and students are engaged in research and study in many countries in Africa, Asia and Europe and are pursuing new initiatives that will expand this list. As many have recognized, globally focused education and research is paramount for the 21st Century. MSU provides unparalled opportunities for global scholarship.
As the nation’s founding Land Grant University, MSU has long been committed to both generating new knowledge and applying that knowledge to address fundamental problems facing communities, nations, and the world. This is a fundamental and distinctive aspect of the School of Criminal Justice. It is apparent in the many programs that are part of our Outreach Unit. It is apparent in the collaboration between our faculty and students and forensic crime labs throughout the U.S. and beyond. It is also apparent in the research conducted by our faculty. The School is home to the Michigan Justice Statistics Analysis Center and the Michigan Victim’s Assistance Academy. It is home to major national programs on juvenile detention, law enforcement intelligence, and gun violence and international programs on transnational and comparative criminal justice. As you review faculty research interests, including topics as diverse as corporate security; delinquency and youth development; drug courts; environmental crime; forensic evidence; gangs, gender and justice; homicide; inmate re-entry; judicial administration; law and policymaking; police deviance; police use of force; race, ethnicity and justice; restorative justice; staff burnout; risk assessment; terrorism; victimization; and much more, it becomes apparent that the School is engaged with the most pressing crime and justice issues of the day.
The School’s engagement is also evident in the partnerships established with professional associations, public and private agencies, and universities within the U.S. and abroad. For example, the Judicial Administration Program has established formal partnerships with the leading professional associations of judicial managers as well as with many state and federal judicial organizations and court systems in Australia and Egypt. The School collaborates with the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, the Michigan State Police, numerous Michigan and U.S. local law enforcement agencies, federal agencies (e.g., DEA, DHS, EPA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FLETC, NIJ, National Park Service), Interpol, the Korean National Police, the Turkish National Police, the Thai Royal Police and a number of constabularies in the United Kingdom. A prime example of such collaboration is our relationship with the University of Michigan whereby our faculty direct the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data and the newly established Archive on Terrorism. Similarly, we work with the University of Minnesota on food security, Rutgers University on risk assessment, Babes-Bolyai University in Romania on community policing and universities in Australia, India, Korea, Philippines, Ukraine, and United Kingdom and beyond. Additionally, the School works with leading corporations including Ford, General Motors, IBM, and Target, to address security-related issues in a global marketplace. These partnerships enrich the School by generating research questions and providing research opportunities, grounding our educational programs in real world experience, and linking our students to professional opportunities
With roots in anthropology, history, law, political science, psychology, and sociology, criminal justice is an inherently multi-disciplinary field of study. This multi-disciplinary focus is apparent in our faculty. In recent years this is even more apparent as we move toward an inter- and cross-disciplinary focus in our educational, research, and outreach activity. We build on connections to every college within MSU. This is evident through the specializations offered to undergraduate and graduate students and through the outside cognate area of the Ph.D. program. It is also witnessed in the School’s involvement in MSU’s Risk Research Initiative. Through these connections, MSU students have access to cutting-edge courses in cyber- and information security; environmental compliance and enforcement; forensics; geospatial analysis; global and area studies; judicial administration; public health; and supply chain security. This inter-disciplinary focus runs through the curriculum, is part of specializations and degree programs, and is available for individualized programs of study at undergraduate and graduate levels
The School’s commitment to diversity is multi-dimensional. The Land Grant philosophy has historically included a commitment to making higher education available to everyone and we believe this is particularly important for the study of criminal justice. Thus, we are committed to providing access to a diverse student body. We are also committed to a diversity of ideas. Our faculty do not agree on all of the normative dimensions of criminal justice policy, the causes of crime and delinquency, nor the preferred responses to crime and disorder. This, however, is a positive trait as we seek to be an environment where exchange and debate are encouraged and where scientific critique of research becomes the engine for the generation of new knowledge. Many of our alumni who are now police executives talk about the influence of the late Professor Zolton Ferency. Professor Ferency was firmly committed to the preservation of individual rights as embodied in the U.S. Constitution. One of his former students, now a law enforcement executive, commented, “I didn’t always agree with him but he made me think about civil rights in a way that has stuck with me my entire career.” It is precisely this type of critical thinking, about both the fairness and effectiveness of the justice system, that lives on within the School to this day.
School of Criminal Justice History
Ed McGarrell, Director and Professor
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Jeremy Wilson, Associate Professor
Louie Rivers, Assistant Professor
Environmental Science and Policy Program
Carole Gibbs, Assistant Professor