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  • Students Recommend Improvements to State Criminal Justice Training Commission

    July 19, 2011

    Students in the M.A. in Criminal Justice program developed recommendations for improvement to the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC). Working in teams, they addressed real issues in criminal justice training. The graduate students presented their findings to the WSCJTC Executive Director in June, and several of their recommendations have already been implemented. The projects fulfilled the service learning requirement in Professor Stephen Rice’s Organizational Analysis in Criminal Justice seminar.

    "These projects gave us good feedback on where we are with our training development efforts and where we need to improve,” said Steve Lettic, Manager of the Development, Training and Standards Division. “These projects will help us focus our efforts ‘surgically’ when resources can’t be wasted using broad brush strokes."

    The first project, “Exploring Effective Assessment and Evaluation Strategies for WSCJTC Problem-Based Learning (PBL),” included an evaluation of PBL, face-to face-interviews with students and instructors, and a survey. Major project recommendations included redesigning instructional journaling, tighter coordination between instruction and assessment, a stronger emphasis on articulated instructional objectives, a rotation of student leadership roles, and further incorporation of "ill-structured problems” into problem-based learning. Ill-structured problems are problems with multiple solution paths and multiple methods for evaluating success.

    The second project, “Identifying Organizational Sustainment Opportunities for the WSCJTC Pre-Supervisor Curriculum,” examined the pre-supervisor course which provides agencies with a framework for deciding which participants may be viable candidates for promotion to supervisor. Students assessed the curriculum to determine “sustainability,” or whether the elements of the training prove valuable when participants transfer back to their home agencies. They recommended that a focus for the course should be on complete integration into an agency, which will require that management more fully "buy into" the training to avoid cultural obstacles.

    A seven-student team worked on “Identifying Organizational Sustainment Opportunities for the WSCJTC Equivalency Academy.” This study determined if the academy provides proper information for peace officers to successfully transition into the state police departments and whether the information is sustainable back in the workplace. Major recommendations for improvements to the curriculum focused on redesigns of some of the Problem-Based Learning instructional materials and greater attention to instructor grading rubrics.

    The fourth team proposed a procedural justice training curriculum for officers focused on the LEED / 4 Pillars (Listen, Explain, Equity, Dignity) model of policing. In their project, “Recommendations for a WSCJTC Procedural Justice Curriculum Framework,” the students conducted a survey of police officers to determine which training techniques are most effective in a class setting and whether the officers believed procedural justice principles were already being implemented in their respective departments. The project recommendations were presented as a proposed training curriculum skeleton for future commission needs. These recommendations focused on the identification of learning goals, analysis of learners, identification of instructional objectives, planning of instructional activities, selection of training media, and development of assessment tools

    Joe Hawe, WSCJTC Executive Director, appreciated the hard work of the students, noting that “the students have done an excellent job and their findings were incorporated into our planning and operations.”

    Students shown above are, from left to right: Naomi Rosenberg, Danielle Williams, Levi Giraud, Veronika Singh, Andre Labossiere, Genesis Andrade, Mike Bossi, Heather Burns, Victor Garibay, Norma Hernandez, Alicia Jordan, Elisabeth Gribble, Nichole Tucker, Elizabeth Fernandez. Not shown: Grant Ballingham, Nancy Garcia, James Krueger, Wendy Munoz, Stanley Patrzalek, Denise Quiroz, Lynn Slaughter, Shannon Todd.

    The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 33 undergraduate and 7 advanced degrees including B.A. and B.S. degrees in Criminal Justice, an M.A. in Criminal Justice, a joint MA/JD degree with the School of Law, and a Certificate in Crime Analysis.

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