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Dr. John Poffenbarger
Department Chair
Email: jpoffenbarger@wju.edu
Phone: 304-243-2334


Frequently Asked Questions



What exactly is Criminal Justice?

The term criminal justice refers to an area of knowledge concerned with understanding and controlling crime through the scientific administration of police, court, and correctional agencies. It is an interdisciplinary field that draws upon the knowledge bases of criminology, sociology, psychology, law, public policy and other related disciplines to develop insights into the causes and prevention of criminal behavior.

What is meant by the "Criminal Justice System"?
The contemporary criminal justice system within the United States is monumental in size. It includes more than 55,000 public agencies employing over 1.5 million people. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, it has a budget of over $60 billion for agencies, 6,000 correctional operations. There are approximately 18,000 police agencies, 17,000 courts, 8,000 prosecutorial agencies, 6,000 correctional institutions, and almost 4,000 probation and parole departments. Independent yet interrelated with the adult criminal justice system, the juvenile justice system is responsible for dealing with juvenile and youth crime, as well as with incorrigible and truant children and runaways. Further, most retail, industrial, and manufacturing organizations have a security, safety, of loss/prevention division to protect company assets.

Can I combine Criminal Justice with another major or minor?
Certainly. In fact we encourage you to design a personal education plan that best meets your own goal. Many students combine Criminal Justice with psychology, Business, Political Science, Chemistry, Biology, or Technology. Combining disciplines give you knowledge and skills that better allow you to be a leader in your chosen field.

Will I be educated in the latest technology?
Absolutely. Wheeling Jesuit is well-equipped with a campus wide fiber optic network, a state-of-the-art educational technologies facility, computer labs and up-to-date software to prepare you for communicating in the 21st century In addition, we are building an ever-growing network of outside resources giving you access to an even wider array of professional communications facilities and work environments. We offer a course examining "Computer Crime" and "Ethical Issues in Technology."

Is there Financial Aid?
Lots. Each year we offer a Criminal Justice Scholarship. The University also offers a wide array of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study opportunities-making a high-quality Jesuit education affordable regardless of your financial means.

What kind of career opportunities are available?
The criminal justice system offers numerous career opportunities and is attractive to a wide variety of people. Career alternatives available to graduates include: corporate security, computer security specialist, federal law enforcement, Forensic Chemist enforcement, community correctional counselor, state and county law, judge, municipal police officer, and research and teaching.  Many students combine criminal justice with psychology, business, political science, chemistry biology or technology.  Combining disciplines gives students the knowledge and skills to be leaders in their chosen fields. 

As Criminal Justice majors, students will complete supervised internships with justice-related agencies.  Over the last four years, Wheeling Jesuit University students completed internships with a variety of agencies, including:  the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Federal Attorney's Office, the Pennsylvania Department of Probation and Parole, the West Virginia Forensic Crime Lab, the State of Ohio Department of Corrections and the New York City District Attorney's Office.  These internships often lead to permanent jobs, and Wheeling Jesuit University maintains extensive contacts with justice system agencies around the world.

What can you tell me about the quality of the instructors?
The professors are experienced teachers and scholars, and have excellent reputations in our region and nation. Their record of accomplishments and personal dedication to their students is outstanding at Wheeling Jesuit, and they are deeply committed to the Jesuit tradition of education.  Faculty members set aside time before and after classes to make themselves available to meet their students' needs, which is a proven formula for success.  For more information, contact Dr. Lawrence Driscoll, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, at driscoll@wju.edu.



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