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Today's meeting spotlights benefits of Criminal Justice's victim studies degree

By Rebekah Martinez
On February 12, 2004

The College of Criminal Justice and the Crime Victim Services Alliance will be hosting an informational meeting about the bachelor of arts degree in victim studies today at 3 p.m.

The meeting, held in the Criminal Justice Center in the Texas Room, will provide a thorough explanation of the degree itself along with a study of the potential careers in this rapidly growing field. Staff will be on hand to answer questions about the program.

"Until recently there hasn't been much of an academic track for victim services aside from the usual social work that is involved in criminal justice programs," says Alliance adviser Stephanie Frogge. The now two-year-old major is currently the only degree of its kind offered in the United States. With 30 victims studies majors at SHSU, interest has elevated.

"There are three other universities that offer similar programs, but ours is geared towards both human services and criminal justice," Frogge said. "Given the enormous number of victim services programs in the U.S. with paid staffs, I anticipate our grads will be in high demand."

The bachelor of arts in victim studies is an inter-disciplinary degree involving four colleges and six departments at SHSU, combining coursework in criminal justice, psychology, health education, management and marketing, political science and sociology. According to the official definition on the criminal justice Website, within the program, students are prepared for careers in victim services programs, focusing on agency operations, inter-agency collaboration, direct victim services, traumatology and criminal justice procedures, and understanding the victim experience as well as basic legal and management principles.

The opportunity to work extensively within a network of service programs in the Unite States is quickly growing. There are 2,300 estimated system based services programs in the United States, including victim advocates in police departments and prosecuting attorney's offices.

"This doesn't even begin to include the thousands of non-system based programs such as shelters for battered women, child advocacy groups, Mothers

Against Drunk Driving groups - all with paid staffs," Frogge said. "These programs start with volunteers, and then as money starts to come in, they might hire one or two of their volunteers. As the field becomes more professional, I think graduates in this area can profit from it."

The Crime Victims Services Alliance is a special interest group on campus comprised of students interested in crime victim services.

The itinerary for the meeting includes a presentation by Frogge on the history of the degree and its career opportunities, a run-down of the degree's coursework by Doris Powell and information on the Crime Victim Services Alliance by organization president Cindy Lindquist. Recent graduate, Amanda Whittiker, will also be on hand to speak about her experience obtaining the degree and seeking employment in the field.

For more information about the meeting or the program, call Stephanie Frogge at 936-294-4174 or visit the criminal justice Website at http://www.cjcenter.org/College/index.htm.

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