Criminology program is to be initiated

Criminology program is to be initiated

Moriah Howell

A criminology class in session Feb. 15. According to an admnistrator, the decision to add a criminal justice major was due to an influx of inquiries from prospective students.

Sean Sauro, Managing Editor

Keeping up with student demand, Pitt-Johnstown faculty are to add a new major to the Social Science Division.

Admissions and Recruitment Director Therese Grimes said a decision to add a criminal justice major to the university’s curriculum was made due to an influx of prospective student inquiries.

She said more than 300 prospective students have asked about the major during the admissions process, and she thinks the major’s institution will attract students and increase enrollment.

Criminology professor Ross Kleinstuber said university officials approached him to help set up the major.

“They brought me in fall of 2011 with anticipation of creating the major,” he said, adding that course and budget development was required before the major could be proposed.

Kleinstuber said before the major could be added, it had to be approved at a number of administrative levels— both at Pitt-Johnstown and at the Pitt-Oakland.

“We sent off a proposal in April, and then the final proposal went off in October,” he said. “We’ve only received word of official confirmation in the last two weeks.”

Though the major has only recently been approved, Kleinstuber said interested students were able to attend criminology-related classes.

He taught two criminology-related classes each semester since being hired.

Kleinstuber said the new major is to be broken into two tracts with a number of core courses that all participating students will be required to take.

“There will be a long justice tract focusing on investigating interaction between law and society and a computer forensics and cyber analytics tract focusing on digital law enforcement,” he said.

“It’s important stuff for anyone entering law enforcement, but the long justice tract will be beneficial to those thinking of entering graduate or law school.”

Kleinstuber said his goal is to make the program well rounded in order to help students find job market success.

“Criminal justice was invented as a discipline in the ‘60s, and up until about 20 years ago, most cops were high school graduates. Now, most departments require two or four year degrees.”

In addition to student benefits, Kleinstuber said the new major allows Pitt-Johnstown to attract prospective students.

“A lot of other schools in the area have similar programs,” he said. “The introduction of the major makes (Pitt-Johnstown) more competitive.”

Freshman Mike Lintz said the major’s introduction played a large role in his decision to enroll at Pitt-Johnstown.

“I had an idea that I wanted (the major), even before I started college,” Lintz said.

“I knew Pitt-Greensburg had it, and I was considering transferring there. But prior to my first semester, (an admissions office employee) informed me that we’d be getting the program.”

Similarly, Pitt-Johnstown sophomore Catherine Akoth said the new program piqued her interest.

“I originally came in for biology,” Akoth said, “but then I decided to take some classes that weren’t necessarily bio because I was interested in prelaw.

“(Kleinstuber) showed me what the curriculum for the major was, and I liked it. I plan on declaring next year.”

Grimes said she believes the additional major will work to diversify student options, and said she expects it to be offered as early as fall 2013.