Asking, “What is just?” is something every person has probably once pondered. The new crime, law, and justice major at Hiram College asks students to help contribute to the global answer to this question through engagement with sociology, philosophy, ethics, political science, and public health studies.
But, why “Crime, Law, & Justice” instead of “Criminal Justice”?
“It emphasizes the fact that we not only focus on criminology but justice and legal studies,” says Elena Fox, Ph.D., visiting sociology professor and the main academic advisor for students declaring the major. Therefore, emphasizing the importance of not only crime, but also justice and legal systems makes the major reflect the real world better and opens students’ career possibilities to a wider range of disciplines. She continues: “In these tumultuous times within our nation and the world, it is vital that we provide more majors that explore justice and legality.”
“The rule of law in America, as well as in public safety, is what keeps our democracy intact. It is necessary that we continue bolstering the profession in positive ways in order to preserve and advance our way of life,” notes Rodney Jacobs ’12, J.D., M.P.A., M.P.H., a leader in the field of crime, law, and justice.
Jacobs stands as the Assistant Director of the Civilian Investigative Panel in the City of Miami and Military Intelligence Office for the United States Army Reserve. Though, during his time, Hiram College did not offer the exact same major of “crime, law, and justice”, Jacobs studied quite a bit of the topics that compose the current academic program. Back at Hiram College, his major was political science and his minors were in communication and public leadership. Since his undergraduate education, he continued on to receive a Masters of Public Health and a Masters of Public Administration at the University of Miami and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence at the University of Dayton.
The Timelessness of Education
“My experience at Hiram helped me build determination and resiliency to any obstacle I face. While at Hiram, I learned how to be collaborative and to seek group consensus. The interdisciplinary skills learned during a liberal arts education allows you to have knowledge in all aspects of life and various professions. It’s often that great ideas in board rooms, judge chambers, and on the floor of legislative sessions comes from those with a firm education in the liberal arts. The New Liberal ArtsTM expands that notion into the modern era,” says Jacobs.
Nancy E. Solomon ’89, investigator for the Department of Interior, Office of the Inspector General, reflects on her time at Hiram College: “All my courses required me to analyze, think critically, and prepare written reports. I think these three skills–along with making presentations to an audience from time to time–have been extremely important because I use these skills every day. I conduct interviews, analyze documents, draft interrogatories for interviews, and manage the electronic case tracking system that houses case files. All day long I am reading, writing, listening, and speaking. I would say those skills are critical to investigative work.”
These skills are core pieces of Hiram’s education and are being emphasized in the new crime, law & justice major.
A Future of Bright Peace-Keepers
So, what do these two professionals (and Hiram College alumni) give as advice to the rising generation of leaders?
Solomon emphasizes education and active attention: “Accept all the training you are ever offered, and never be afraid to ask a teammate or supervisor for assistance. Learn to write really well. Listen and take good notes. Follow the paper trail: follow the money.”
Jacobs’s advice: “No day is the same in my profession, so an important skill I learned is change-and-people-management. Nothing is more gratifying than witnessing the plan you put together help change the communities in which you serve. Sometimes this process happens fast. Other times it is painstakingly slow; but, no matter the timeframe, it is always worth continuing the job.” Second, “Be sure to have a support system, especially in criminal justice. My wife, Ramona Jacobs, serves as a sounding board for some of my best ideas and, often times, turns me away from the bad ideas before I embarrass myself,” and, lastly, “Critical thinking is a core competency learned at Hiram: Know your value, then charge tax. Be confident in the skills you learn at Hiram and apply them in ways that create bold plans.
By studying crime, law, and justice, along with reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills, majors in this academic program will be ready to work in law, international courts, government, and so much more.
by Abigail Stevenson