The Pacific Index

Criminal justice major:

Popularity of new major increases

Tyler Brown, Opinion Co-Editor

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 The criminal justice major is in its second year Pacific University and 
is gaining attention from students as a subject of interest. The program, led by assistant professor Taryn VanderPyl, was implemented in 2015 to help prepare students for jobs within the criminal justice system. The major involves a diverse course selection between various sociology and political science classes. “A traditional criminal justice program tends to focus purely on black and white details of law and the criminal justice system,” senior Shane Suyama said.
“Pacific’s degree emphasizes critical thinking and more open-ended approaches.” Suyama, who plans on becoming a patrol officer, has already started applying at different agencies and has found Pacific’s preparation helpful in his job search. The program puts students through internships with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department in order for students to understand what being involved in the field is about. The students must have a minimum of 100 hours of service in order for them to graduate with the degree. “The internships were extremely beneficial because many people don’t understand the hard work that these men and women put in every day,” Suyama said. “It was eye opening for me, but also made me even more excited to work in the field.”
However, there have been struggles with students graduating on time through this major. Because the major is still new, some students are having to find a way to fit the various required classes into their schedules. This has caused students to struggle getting into classes that are needed to graduate. “I know other students are facing struggles different from mine,” Suyama said. “I came from a junior college prior to Pacific and have faced the credit transfer issue but otherwise I have been pretty fortunate. I am going to be one requirement short of graduating but I will still be able to walk in May.” 
As of now, the class of 2017 has 20 students who intend to graduate with a degree in criminal justice and the program continues to grow under its advisors.
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Criminal justice major: