Criminal Justice Department Portfolio Assessment/Program Review 2014/15

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1 1 Criminal Justice Department Portfolio Assessment/Program Review 2014/15 Criminal Justice Department Mission The mission of the Criminal Justice Department is to enhance community safety by providing a distinguished Criminal Justice program to students either pursuing occupations in the Criminal Justice field or seeking knowledge regarding Criminal Justice issues. I. Goals and Objectives 1. What are the department s annual goals? The Criminal Justice (CJ) Department's primary goal is to provide the best possible education for students seeking employment as police officers, probation officers, state parole agents, crime scene investigators, federal agents, or private security officers. These are demanding and, at times, dangerous career fields that require competent employees who are capable of maintaining public safety. The main objective in meeting this goal is to hire faculty with the requisite professional and academic experience to prepare students for such employment. A secondary goal for 2014 is to provide students who are not interested seeking employment as stated above with sufficient knowledge of CJ issues to enable them to pursue their educational goals, such as transfer to a four-year university. The main objective in meeting this goal is designing exams and writing assignments that prepare SAC students for the rigors of obtaining an undergraduate degree. These goals align with Santa Ana College s (SAC s) Mission to prepare students for a career. Furthermore, these goals align with SAC s Strategic Plan in the areas of Student Achievement and Workforce Development. 2. What progress has been made toward the department s goals in the last year? The CJ department has made more than satisfactory progress towards achieving its department goals regarding educating CJ students. The main cause that identifies the CJ Department is achieving its goals is the large number of students who continue to enroll in the program, which has existed since the 1960s. Regarding retention rates during the last five years, the CJ Department retains on average 80% of its students (SAC s average retention rate is 85%), based on an average of 1,265 students for the past five Fall semesters. Furthermore, a substantial number of SAC students declare CJ as their major and pursue the traditional AA degree in CJ. As evidence of student interest in the CJ AA degree, SAC awarded an average of 25 AA CJ degrees to its students each year for the past five years (in SAC awarded 32 CJ Degrees). This average places CJ in the #8 position (out of 80) of degrees that SAC awards. According to SAC data, CJ generated the 15 th highest number of FTES (out of 76 disciplines college-wide), and generated the 5 th highest number of FTES in its division. In the academic year, the CJ department generated 277 FTES (Dean s Division Data). In Fall 2013 the CJ Department s retention rate was 83%. 3. What research has the department conducted? The CJ Department Chair is presently working on his PhD in the discipline of Psychology; his dissertation consists of an examination of emotional intelligence, decision-making style, and the level of exposure to criminal gang activity upon youth. This topic has significant relevance to the CJ Department program and the field of CJ. Additionally, several of CJ s part-time faculty serve in executive, management, or supervisory capacities with CJ agencies that conduct substantial research into CJ

2 2 topics (e.g., incarceration recidivism rates), which the CJ part-time faculty reference in teaching their courses to SAC students. 4. Do goals need to be restructured, eliminated, or pursued with different activities? The CJ Department goals are meeting the needs of SAC students, and are aligned with SAC s Mission and Strategic Plan. 5. What are the proposed goals for next year? Next year, the CJ Department goals will continue to focus on career and transfer as described in an earlier subsection. One proposed goal for next year consists of an evaluation of the first year of SAC s offering of its AS-T Degree in Administration of Justice (AJ). There may be fiscal implications concerning this proposed goal, due to the impact of the number of students pursuing the AS-T Degree rather than the traditional AA Degree in CJ, because the AS-T Degree consists of fewer required AJ/CJ units (i.e., 12 for the AS-T compared to 27 for the AA Degree). Alternatively, SAC students may continue to pursue the AA degree and focus on obtaining employment in the industry. II. Institutional Level SLOs 6. Please summarize findings of Direct-SLO Assessment from the previous academic year. The previous findings consist of addressing six out of the seven Institutional Learning Objectives (ILOs) as indicated in Table 1 below. Regarding the unaddressed seventh ILO, there is no significant relationship between the CJ Mission and Information Management. Most CJ courses address Thinking and Reasoning, and Careers, followed by the ILOs as indicated in Table 2 below, which directly relate to the SAC and Department Missions. The CJ course outcomes focus on student scores on exams and writing assignments, because these measures relate directly to employment and successful performance in the CJ field. Generally, CJ program outcomes consist of comparing the test and writing assignment scores of students who pass the course with a grade of C or higher as they relate to the ILOs, as indicated in Table 2 below. Furthermore, testing and writing are significant variables because the CJ career field eliminates approximately two-thirds of test applicants because they fail the initial written exam and writing skills test. Consequently, all CJ courses emphasize testing and writing skills, and the CJ Department established a semester course in writing relative to the CJ field as an intervention to improve SAC students writing skills. Moreover, these exams and writing assignments are assessing the students thinking and reasoning skills, which is not only one of SAC s ILOs, but thinking and reasoning represent the primary abilities that CJ professionals require to perform their duties. Summarily, this Direct-SLO assessment of the CJ program is consistent with the SAC mission to prepare students for the workforce. Table 1. Institutional Learning Outcomes Mapping Academic Year INSTITUTIONAL LEARNING OUTCOMES (CORE COMPETENCIES) MAPPING COURSES (Criminal Justice) I. Communication Skills II. Thinking & Reasoning III. Information Management IV. Diversity V. Civic Responsibilit y VI. Life Skills VII. Careers 101 X X 102 X X

3 3 103 X X 104 X X 105 X 106 X X 107 X X 108 X X 109 X 110 X X 148 X 205 X X 209 X X 210 X X 220 X X Table 2. CJ Program Learning Outcomes Mapping Academic Year Required Courses for the CJ Degree SLO 1 (T&R) SLO 2 (Car) SLO 3 (Com) SLO 4 (Div) SLO 5 (Civ) 101 X X 102 X X 103 X X 105 X 107 X X 109 X 148 X Elective Courses (2) for the CJ Degree 104 X X 106 X X 108 X X 110 X X 205 X X 209 X X 210 X X 220 X X III. Student and Program Success 7. What are the strengths of the program? SAC students have historically shown a great deal of interest in taking courses in the CJ curriculum, and in majoring in Criminal Justice, see Table 3 below for student achievement data from SAC s Research Department. The success

4 4 of the program is directly related to the level of knowledge that the CJ faculty bring to the classroom. Furthermore, as a social science course, the Introduction to Criminal Justice course (CJ101) provides students with insight regarding what the occupational fields require from their candidates for employment, and expect from their employees in terms of job performance. Moreover, high school students interested in a career in CJ are now able to articulate the Introduction to CJ course (CJ101), thus providing the program with an ongoing pool of students. Based on the 277 FTES the CJ Department generated in Academic Year , the program does not need any improvement; but continues to seek ways to provide SAC students with an outstanding program to prepare them for the workplace or transfer. Table 3. SAC Student Achievement/Course Completion Data (from RSCCD Research Department) Semester Total Grades Rec d A B C/P Total D F/NP W Retention Rate Fall % 20% 19% 58% 6% 13% 22% 77% Fall % 22% 24% 62% 6% 15% 17% 83% Fall % 23% 23% 63% 8% 11% 18% 82% Fall % 19% 22% 52% 9% 15% 24% 76% Fall % 19% 24% 57% 9% 17% 17% 83% Total % 21% 22% 58% 8% 14% 20% 80% 8. What are the faculty s perceptions of the success of the program? The CJ Department is comprised of two full-time and 18 part-time faculty. All CJ faculty are experienced professionals who teach at SAC because, since the 1960s, this program has earned a reputation for preparing students for CJ careers. Success is measured both through the collection of data (i.e., department SLOs related to student enrollment and degrees obtained), and by the caliber of instructors who are interested in teaching for this program. Presently, the CJ department has part-time faculty on staff who: (a) provide legal defense in death penalty cases, (b) defend corrupt police officers who engage in criminal acts, (c) conduct crime scene investigations for the Santa Ana Police Department, (d) supervise the high-risk sex offender unit for the Orange County Probation Department, and (e) serve as the Chief of Police of the Santa Ana Police Department. Consequently, the mission of the CJ department is based upon its ability to attract and retain experienced and knowledgeable faculty to teach the over 30 sections that the CJ program presently offers. 9. What are the opinions of students regarding the program s quality? Students have a highly favorable opinion of the CJ program, based upon the high enrollment in CJ courses every semester and in the consistently positive feedback that students provide through SAC s faculty evaluation process. Numerous SAC students have benefited from the knowledge they obtained in the CJ program by obtaining employment with various CJ agencies. Several of those former SAC CJ students have returned to teach at SAC as part-time faculty in the CJ program. The CJ Department Chair is a former SAC CJ student because of his enrollment in the CJ Academies program in the 1970s.

5 5 10. What, if appropriate, are employer attitudes toward the program? Employer attitudes toward the CJ program are very positive, because this program prepares students for a demanding and, at time, dangerous, career field that involves maintaining public safety. Last semester the CJ Department Chair met with leadership representatives from the law enforcement community at a Technical Advisory Committee meeting. During that meeting, the Department Chair discussed the CJ program and received positive feedback from the regarding the course curriculum. During the Fall 2014 semester, the Department Chair met with the leadership of the Orange County Probation Department and engaged in similar dialogue as with the law enforcement community. Consequently, there is considerable evidence that the CJ agencies that this program seeks to provide job applicants with are pleased with the quality of the CJ program. So much so, that these agencies are recruiting SAC CJ students for various CJ jobs and careers, through workshops scheduled on campus for students to attend. These meetings and workshops would not be possible without the strong relationships that the CJ program - specifically its fulltime faculty - have fostered with the CJ community. 11. What successes may be identified? The successes of the CJ program include: (a) continuing high enrollment in all CJ courses (i.e., 277 FTEs in the academic year), (b) continuing high awarding of two-year degrees, (c) a highly qualified staff of faculty, (d) strong working relationships with the CJ professions that this program supports, and (e) the program now offers a transfer degree option that will allow SAC CJ students to seek employment in career fields that require an undergraduate degree (e.g., FBI, State Department of Insurance, and the CIA). IV. Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Innovation 12. Describe the curriculum offerings, their relationship to the discipline, and substantive curriculum changes. The Criminal Justice AA Degree is comprised of the following core courses: Criminal Justice 101, Introduction to Criminal Justice Criminal Justice 102, Introduction to Corrections Criminal Justice 103, Concepts of Criminal Law Criminal Justice 105, Legal Aspects of Evidence Criminal Justice 107, Principles & Procedures in the Criminal Justice System Criminal Justice 109, Community Interaction (Effective Fall 2015) Criminal Justice 148, Writing Skills for Criminal Justice Personnel In addition, students must choose six units from the following electives: Criminal Justice 106, Coroner Death Investigation Criminal Justice 108, Crime Scene Investigation Criminal Justice 110, Street Gangs Criminal Justice 205, Criminal Investigation Principles Criminal Justice 209, Organized Crime Criminal Justice 210, Drug Abuse and Criminal Justice Criminal Justice 220, Juvenile Delinquency & Control

6 6 The relationship of the above courses to the discipline of CJ is direct and significant. The CJ profession includes the fields of Law Enforcement, Probation, Courts, Corrections, and Private Security. Each of the courses in the CJ curriculum deals with a component of a discipline designed to maintain public safety. The program has kept up with changing needs in the profession through the following modifications to its course offerings: (a) the Introduction to Corrections course (CJ102) was elevated to a core class, (b) the Community Interaction course (CJ109) was transferred from an elective to a core course, (c) the Street Gangs (CJ110) course was increased from a one unit to three-unit elective, (d) the Writing Skills for Criminal Justice Personnel (CJ148) was elevated to a 100-level course, and (e) the Drug Abuse and Criminal Justice course (CJ210) was added as a new course. 13. Describe the program s relationship to the student services and its offerings to the students served. The CJ department works regularly and cooperatively with student services. For example, this past semester, a CJ part-time faculty contacted the CJ Department Chair for assistance with two students who were struggling academically in class. The CJ Department Chair contacted the DSPS office and obtained direction. Also, during the last semester, the CJ Department Chair met with the SAC Career Technical Education (CTE) counselor assigned to the Human Services Division to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern, in order to provide CJ students with accurate information. Moreover, the CJ Department participates every semester in SAC s Early Alert program, which provides counseling information to students who are struggling in their courses. 14. Describe the use of technology, e.g., computer labs, increased use of Blackboard, hybrid or on-line courses, etc. How does the use of these tools enhance learning? Regarding the use of technology, overall, all CJ faculty make use of technology in the mediated classrooms, and the majority of CJ faculty utilize Blackboard in a variety of ways. The CJ Department Chair is monitoring one CJ part-time faculty, who is presently working with a book publisher on an online feature that allows students to enhance their learning experience. Regarding hybrid courses, the CJ Department has offered two hybrid courses for several years, which the CJ Department Chair has taught. The CJ Department Chair elected to discontinue offering both hybrid courses at the end of the current semester because of their high attrition rates. The high attrition rates are directly attributed to the course requirements that students have to submit two 500-word essays weekly. The course content is directly related to the demands of the profession, as evidenced by the two-thirds fail rate that CJ agencies experience in the writing component of their hiring processes. Typically, SAC students enrolled in the hybrid courses to the point of establishing a waitlist (i.e., 48 students enrolled in a course), but failed to show up for the first night of class. Within the first few weeks of the course, additional students would drop, leaving as few as a dozen students in the course at the end of the semester. The CJ Department Chair has discussed the drop rate with students and has determined that many students take the CJ hybrid courses because they think that the courses are going to be easy. Quite often, the students are not CJ majors and have only minimal interest in learning about the CJ profession. Therefore, when students realize that the course involves actual study time and performance, they drop the course. Overall, the CJ Department Chair was disappointed in the low success rate of SAC students who took CJ hybrid courses. Typically, students who did well in the CJ hybrid courses already had average to above-average writing

7 7 skills. Conversely, the students who did not do well in CJ hybrid courses displayed less than average writing skills. 15. What changes have been made in pedagogy? Regarding overall changes to pedagogy, the deletion of the two aforementioned hybrid courses is one specific example, as is the transfer of the Community Interaction course (CJ 109) from an elective to a required course. On a broader scale, in the last four years the CJ department has articulated agreements with the ROP program, and in the past academic year the CJ department has received approval to offer a transfer degree. All of these changes are designed to offer the best possible CJ program to SAC students. V. Resource Development 16. What resources has the department explored to ascertain the status of the discipline/program in other arenas? Exploring resources is the hallmark of the SAC CJ Department. The CJ Department conducts regular advisory committee meetings and engages in collegial dialogue with other departments in the Human Services Division. Furthermore, the CJ Department Chair is a member of the SAC safety task force and consults with representatives from the disciplines of Fire, Health, Facilities, and Risk Management on matters that affect the SAC campus and student population. Likewise, the CJ department full-time faculty regularly consults with the CJ part-time faculty, who attend various professional conferences and training programs. Consequently, the CJ program is able to invite CJ professionals to our campus to meet our students in various settings, such as the upcoming workshops being offered by several CJ agencies. 17. What grants has the program been involved with? How has this changed the program? The CJ Department continues to monitor the availability of grants that may benefit its curriculum, but as yet has not determined a need for any. As it stands, the CJ curriculum meets the demands of the students, is representative of what the CJ occupational fields seek in their candidates for employment, and presents the academic rigor that Santa Ana College requires. VI. Assessment of Conclusions and Recommendations 18. Based on the analysis, what changes are recommended for the program? Based on an analysis of the CJ program as presented in this document, the CJ program remains robust and no changes are recommended at the present time. The program s present success and status are a result of changes that were made when necessary. 19. What issues have emerged that requires interdisciplinary dialogue and possible inclusion in overall college planning? The CJ Department will continue to collect data related to the SLOs identified in each of its courses, as well as for the CJ program. The CJ Department Chair will communicate with department faculty and obtain input regarding the level of student success in their courses. Moreover, student enrollment, retention, and graduation remain priorities.

8 This report was created in the approved by CJ Department Chair Andy Gonis on 11/11/14. Meetings were held with CJ Department faculty during flex week of the past two semesters. Technical Advisory Committee meetings were held during each of the past two semesters. All department faculty participated in the Direct-SLO assessment, and provided input for this report 8

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