CJ450 Senior Seminar in Criminal Just.

for SP 2009

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CJ 450 Senior Seminar in Criminal Just.


SP 2009 HO


Dr. Kenneth Christopher, D.P.A.


Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice


Doctor of Public Administration (Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 1999)
Master of Public Administration (Florida International University, Miami, FL, 1983)
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, 1976)

Office Location

MA 416-F (Library)

Office Hours

Monday (11am-3pm), Wednesday (9am-10am, 4:45pm-5:45pm)

Daytime Phone

Office: 816-584-6597

Other Phone

Cell: 816-809-6494




Web Page


Semester Dates

January 12 - May 8, 2009

Class Days


Class Time

1:50 - 4:40 PM


EN 105, EN 106, passing the WCT and senior standing.

Credit Hours



Title: Taking Sides-Clashing Views in Crime and Criminology

Author: Thomas J. Hickey (Ed.)

Publisher: McGraw-Hill

Year: 2008 - 8th Edition

ISBN: 978-0-07-33721-4

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

The instructor will be using eCompanion during the term for instructor-student communications, distributing handouts and supplemental readings, document sharing, recording grades, posting PowerPoint slides, webliography, etc. Students can access the course website using their student ID and OPEN password via:


From time to time, the instructor will refer students to supplemental required readings, audiovisuals, case studies, articles, computer resources, etc. which will be posted on eCompanion and/or provided as supplemental handouts in class. It is the student's responsibility to have reliable access to eCompanion and maintain currency on all assigned material.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.


Course Description:
CJ450 Senior Seminar in Criminal Justice: This capstone course addresses current issues and trends in criminal justice with emphasis on group discussion. Each student will be required to prepare, submit and defend a senior thesis. Successful completion of the thesis is mandatory. This course will satisfy the EN 306 requirement for Criminal Justice majors. Prerequisites: EN105, EN 106, passing the WCT and senior standing 3:0:3.

Educational Philosophy:

The instructor’s overarching approach to education is to emphasize the broadening of intellect as a strategy for developing problem solving and critical thinking skills.  It is essential to integrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities developed in the classroom into the active lives of students, both as individuals and as members of social groups.  It is not the facts we learn, but how we use them that provides us with the tools needed to better the human condition.

A "Seminar" according to Webster is a group of advanced students studying under a professor with each doing original research and all exchanging results through reports and discussions. In the Senior Seminar in Criminal Justice, the emphasis is on the STUDENT, not the TEACHER. The instructor's role is to facilitate student research:
How can what I do in class help you with your own work?
We will use a variety of lectures, discussions, group activities, supplementary readings, audio-visuals, and other devices to facilitate learning. To succeed in this course, it is essential that you come to class prepared. Some basic recommendations here are:
1. Ask questions if any aspect of the course requirements is unclear.
2. Atively participate in class discussions, activities, and exercises.
3. Timely submit all written assignments.
4. READ all assigned material prior to class.

The instructor encourages a mutual learning environment, where students can freely raise questions in the search for understanding.  Students are expected to listen to each other, ask questions, raise concerns, and provide the respect that each individual deserves. Students are also encouraged to bring any items to class which they feel will add substantially to the learning environment.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Assess the ethical and value questions in the criminal justice system.
  2. Criticize factual situations, applying this knowledge.
  3. Improve the ability to effectively gather, evaluate, and communicate information (in both written and oral forms), including the use of the Internet for communication and research.
  4. Design and construct the research, writing and defense of a thesis.

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:


Thesis: CJ450, Senior Seminar, is the capstone course of the Criminal Justice Program. Each student is required to prepare, submit, and defend a senior thesis. Successful completion of the thesis is mandatory. At the first course meeting, students will be provided with a guide and complete instructions for completing the thesis.

Examinations (2): There will be TWO (2) examinations on the Current Issues covered during the semester. Examinations may be in class or take-home, closed or open books/notes, and may be either or a combination of objective and subjective type questions.

Seminar Participation (15 Meeting Dates): Your participation in class activities will be assessed EACH class meeting. Participation may take many forms: a class discussion; an individual or group oral report on your assigned reading; a quiz. Students can expect to be assessed on their participation each class meeting. There are NO MAKEUPS for these assessments. Students who are not PRESENT in class to engage in them lose the points. Emergencies will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


A = 90- 100% (900 to 1,000 points)
B = 80-89%   (800 to 899 points)
C = 70-79%   (700 to 799 points)
D = 60-69%   (600 to 699 points)
F = < 60%    (599 or fewer points)

Thesis (Including Oral Defense)          40% (400 points)
Exams on Current Issues (2)               30% (300 points)
Seminar Participation (15 Meetings)    30% (300 points)


Late Submission of Course Materials:


No assignment will be accepted, reviewed, or graded AFTER May 1, 2009.
There are NO MAKEUPS for the thesis component.  Failure to complete the thesis as scheduled will result in course failure.
Students who are not PRESENT in class to engage in Seminar Participation lose the points. Emergencies will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Late assignments will not generally be accepted unless a documented emergency is justified.  In any event, the instructor reserves the right to impose a 10% grade penalty for each calendar day that any assignment is late, regardless of the reason.

MAKEUP POLICY - MAJOR EXAMINATIONS ONLY:  Students who fail to complete the scheduled examinations will receive a grade of 0 (F) for the assessment item. Students involved in a University-sanctioned event (e.g., sports competition) or experiencing some type of EMERGENCY (e.g., personal illness, car accident, family issue, etc.), which will impact their ability to complete a major examination, must personally contact the instructor BEFORE the schedule examination, or as soon as possible afterwards if an emergency.  A makeup for the examination MAY be offered on a case-by-case basis, subject to written documentation from the student substantiating the University activity (e.g., team schedule, correspondence from coach) or EMERGENCY (e.g., medical note, police report, etc.) and notice from the student. THE INSTRUCTOR HAS NO OBLIGATION TO OFFER A MAKEUP EXAM. 

Classroom Rules of Conduct:


PLEASE silence all beepers, cell phones, wireless communication devices, electronics, etc. while in class. 

If a cell phone must be used during class (including text messaging), please do so outside the classroom.

The use of laptop personal computers to take notes or conduct course-related research is permitted during class as long as it is not a distraction to the instructor or to other students. The use of e-mail, interactive chat rooms, text messaging, instant messaging, “web-surfing,” listening to music, watching videos, and other non-course-related computer activities is considered a distraction and is not permitted during class sessions.
NOTE: Students will NOT be permitted to use personal computers for in-class exams or quizzes.
While class is in session, students may NOT use headphones or ear buds connected to any electronic device (e.g., cell phones, I-Pods, computers, data devices, etc.).

PLEASE show each other the same respect you would want by actively listening to others and maintaining civility in the discourse.

REMEMBER that we are all different and that we grow and develop positively by practicing acceptance, tolerance, and understanding of each other's opinions, customs, and ideas.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Week 1 – January 14, 2009

  • Introductions
  • Course Syllabus
  • Introduction to the Senior Seminar in Criminal Justice
  • General Discussion of Thesis Requirements
  • Readings: ---Course Syllabus ---Instructor-provided resources
  • Articulation of Current Issues: Using the Hickey text as a foundation, students and instructor will plan and agree on the selection and schedule of Current Issues in Criminal Justice to be covered during the semester (See Attachment A)
  • Assignment of thesis and current issues tasks/readings for future classes

Week 2 – January 21, 2009

·        Thesis: Topic, Hypothesis, Dependent and Independent Variable(s)

·       Current Issues: Topic and Readings TBA

Week 3 – January 28, 2009

·         Current Issues: Topic and Readings TBA

Week 4 – February 4, 2009

  • Thesis: Review of the Literature/References/Bibliography

·         Current Issues: Topic and Readings TBA

Week 5 – February 11, 2009

·         Current Issues: Topic and Readings TBA

Week 6 – February 18, 2009

  • Thesis: Methodology - The who, what, when, where, how, and why of how you are testing your hypothesis

·         Current Issues: Topic and Readings TBA

Week 7 – February 25, 2009

·         Current Issues: Topic and Readings TBA

Week 8 – March 4, 2009

·        Examination #1 on Current Issues (Weeks 1 through 7)

***SPRING BREAK – MARCH 7-15, 2009 – NO CLASSES***

Week 9 – March 18, 2009

·       Thesis: Progress report about your thesis research - What have you accomplished? What do you need to do to finish?

·       Current Issues: Topic and Readings TBA

Week 10 – March 25, 2009

·        Current Issues: Topic and Readings TBA

Week 11 – April 1, 2009

·       Thesis: Rough Draft and Assembly of Paper in direct order

·       Current Issues: Topic and Readings TBA

Week 12 – April 8, 2009

·       Thesis: Corrections to rough draft

·       Current Issues: Topic and Readings TBA

Week 13 – April 15, 2009

·        Thesis is due (final version)-NO EXTENSIONS

Week 14 – April 22, 2009

·       Current Issues: Topic and Readings TBA

Week 15 – April 29, 2009

·        Thesis Defense (Oral)

Week 16 – May 6, 2009

  • Examination #2 on Current Issues (Weeks 9 through 14) – Wednesday, May 6, 2009 (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm)

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
Instructor's General Instructions on Written Assignments:  All written submissions must be error free, spell-checked, grammatically correct, and reflective of undergraduate-level academic work.  All students are expected to be familiar with the university's policies on Academic Honesty and Plagiarism.  Evidence of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, fabrication, or cheating, will result in course failure.

All work submitted must be the student's own.  Any assistance received by a student in preparing papers or reports must be fully acknowledged and disclosed in the work submitted.  Students must cite and reference any sources from which data, ideas or words are used, either quoted directly or paraphrased.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90
Instructor's Attendance Policy: The instructor expects students to attend all classes.  All absences will be recorded as UNEXCUSED unless the student notifies the instructor (e-mail, telephone, personal communication) in advance of class and requests an EXCUSED absence. Students arriving more than 10 minutes after class starts or departing before class ends may have an UNEXCUSED absence recorded.

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .
For special accommodations of any kind, please notify the instructor during the first week of class so that I may assist you.

Attachment A - Current Issues and Readings


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Last Updated:1/10/2009 2:37:52 PM