news releases

2006.06.16 > For Immediate Release
contact: Teresa Gleason - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: tmgleason@mail.unomaha.edu

School of Criminology and Criminal Justice to Form at UNO

Omaha - The criminal justice program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) has been granted status as a school, a move that will help ensure its ongoing development as one of the leading criminal justice programs in the United States.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved a proposal to designate the UNO Department of Criminal Justice as the UNO School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at its June 15 meeting.  The designation awaits final approval by the Nebraska Coordinating Commission on Post-Secondary Education.

"This move recognizes the stature and importance of the school to the state and to the University of Nebraska," said B.J. Reed, dean of the UNO College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS), which houses the criminal justice program.  "It is one of the university's most nationally recognized programs, and this designation will help solidify its role regionally and nationally."

The UNO Department of Criminal Justice was created in July 1971 just prior to the establishment of CPACS.  What began as a small academic enterprise focusing on law enforcement and public safety has expanded, Reed said.  It now includes a large and academically diverse faculty, large numbers of undergraduate majors and doctoral students, an active research program and substantial community activity in the form of partnerships with local, regional and national organizations interested in crime, crime control and the administration of justice.

To consolidate those partnerships and foster collaboration among faculty and students, the department has developed the Juvenile Justice Institute and five research initiatives – the Community and Rural Policing Initiative, the International Criminal Justice Initiative, the Police Professionalism Initiative, the Sentence Outcomes Initiative and the Racial Justice Initiative.  Each has a coordinator who is responsible for its work and direction.

John Crank, professor of criminal justice, will serve as the school's interim director.

"This is an exciting time to be involved in criminal justice at the University of Nebraska," Crank said.  "Already nationally recognized for its education and scholarship, the program's designation as the School of Criminal Justice is a strong ‘next step' in its evolution.  We recognize and appreciate the contributions of those individuals who have worked diligently to bring the school into being."

Crank also said the designation will help the university sustain its commitment to the needs of the dynamic Omaha and Lincoln communities and surrounding region, as well as strengthen its role in the fields of criminal justice and criminology nationally. 

At present, more than 600 undergraduate students are majoring in criminal justice on the UNO and University of Nebraska-Lincoln campuses.  There are 65 full- and part-time students in the master's program and 35 full-time students in the doctoral program. 

The school designation does not require additional faculty, staff or physical facilities.  External funds will be sought to support the research and outreach activities of the institute and the initiatives, Crank said.

The UNO School of Criminology and Criminal Justice will join four other UNO schools: the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation; the School of Social Work; the School of Public Administration; and the School of Communication.

For more information, contact Crank at 402.554.2610.

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