Critical Perspectives in Criminal Justice:  CRJU 495

Not official until the first day of class - work-in-progress

Summer I 2014 (May 19 - June 21)
M/W: 5:00-9:00 PM
Room:  TBD

Index # 31298
Professor:  Dr. Tod W. Burke
Office:   133 Russell Hall - Dean's Suite
Office Phone:  831-5149
Fax:      540-831-5970
Home Page:
Office Hours:  Monday/Wednesday 3-4 and by appointment.

Introduction/Class Description: 

This 3 credit course is designed to provide students the ability to integrate theoretical lessons learned in previous criminal justice courses with practical application, including the development of skill sets that may prove useful for future criminal justice employment. Discussion may include issues in constitutional law, policing, corrections, diversity, international criminal justice, research methods, criminal justice ethics, and criminal law, to name a few.  The basic format of this summer class will be discussion and individual and group activity.

Course Objectives:

Upon competition of the course, students should be able to:

Tentative Schedule Outline:

**Constitutional law case briefs (assigned throughout summer 1 session)

Expectations and Professionalism

I expect you to approach the class with a high level of professionalism. Pause for a moment to ask yourself, "why am I in this class?" There may be many good answers to that question. Perhaps you simply want to know more about critical issues in criminal justice.  Hopefully, the answer is not just that you like the time slot when the class is offered, or that "I had to take it," or that "nothing else was open during the summer session and I needed a class."

You may be wondering why we are asking you to consider this. The answer is that it relates directly to professionalism. There are two assumptions that I hold of every student in this course: The first is that you want to be here; and the second is that you are committed to doing the best work possible. If both of these assumptions are true, then your likelihood of success increases. But in order for these assumptions to be true, you must find a motivation (beyond grades) for studying in this course.

This is good preparation for the workforce. Your employers will expect these same two things. Establishing and maintaining professionalism now will serve you well for the future, so I expect that you will approach this class in much the same way that you would approach professional employment. Let’s consider what that means.

Participation counts. Would you expect to be lectured by your boss for the duration of a shift? Hopefully not. Likewise, you should not expect to be the passive recipients of a lecture by me for the entirety of a class meeting. This is a class where you will learn much through class discussion, completion of assignments and group exercises, and your own critical thinking. Just as tasks assigned by an employer build toward meeting an organization’s goals, I likewise do not assign any tasks for the purpose of "busy work" – there is a purpose for all of them, which builds toward meeting the learning goals/objectives for the course (if you are unclear of the purpose, I will happy gladly explain my reasoning).

Attitude counts. While the products you submit are most important (e.g., case briefs, papers, presentations, contributions to discussion, etc.), a good attitude goes a long way. This is signaled by demeanor, attentiveness, timeliness, preparation, and having a positive willingness to learn. Again, consider this from an employer’s perspective. Would you retain an employee who did not pay attention, who slept or was working on other activities during meetings, who was late or absent without good reason, who had not completed the background preparations necessary for the job, and who was unwilling to accept constructive criticism or instruction? Almost certainly not. The same applies here.

Collegiality counts. Collegiality refers to the idea that we must all treat each other with respect in order to complete projects and to work well together. In the workplace, this means that discussions should be civil, without name-calling or rude comments, even when there are disagreements. Indeed, it is normal to have some differences of opinion, and civil debates and discussions can be productive in both clarifying ideas and developing new understandings about an issue of interest. This also means that, when working with others on a project team (which is unavoidable in most professions, especially criminal justice), all persons should demonstrate a commitment to the project, to meeting their obligations, and to contributing fully to it. Again, the same expectations apply in the classroom.

Quality of work counts. Consider the criminal justice workplace. Written reports that are sloppy, inaccurate, or hastily prepared may obscure important facts and result in misunderstandings or errors that have the potential to affect property, finances, policies, and lives. The same is true for public speaking that is inaudible (or too loud), rambling, or unclear. The same is true for drawing conclusions not grounded in careful analysis of research and facts. The same is true of not ensuring that all directions or instructions relevant to a task are followed. You can see the theme of this section…quality of work matters. This goes far beyond completing and turning in an assignment; make each assignment the best it can be.

It is my goal for all students to find success in this course. The above principles provide a means for doing so. I look forward to a collaborative and rewarding summer session!


As noted below, the final group presentation will be valued at 100 points.  All other in-class and out-of-class assignments will be valued at 10 points (0-10). The written case briefs will be valued at 25 points (0-25). There will not be any tests or quizzes!

Depending upon the total point value (to be determined depending upon the number of assignments), grades will be calculated as follows:

90-100% =  A
86-89% =    B+
80-85% =    B
76-79% =    C+
70-75% =    C
60-69% =    D
0-59% =      F

For example, if a student were to earn 250 points out of a possible 290, the final grade would be: B+ (250/290 = 86.2%).

Writing and Oral Presentations

Unless otherwise noted in class, all papers will follow the latest APA standards (See library homepage:

The final oral presentation should be approximately 30 minutes in length and should be creative, interesting, and interactive. Have fun with the presentation.  If you use PowerPoint, do NOT read from the slides or simply produce a handout with the exact information you are presenting to the class.  This is insulting to the class and will significantly negatively affect the group grade.  The final group presentation may be in the form of debates, role-playing, TV game show quizzes, etc.  Students should use whatever means appropriate to provide classroom discussion and participation. In other words - engage the class! Your final grade for the oral presentation will be determined by grading sheets from both the professor and fellow group members.

Group members will rate/score each other based on the Critical Perspectives Group Presentation Sheet Group Presentation Grading Sheet (placed in D2L) to come up with a value out of a possible 100 points maximum.  The professor will also score the group (based upon the Instructor Guide for Oral Presentation Grading Policy) The student (or group) will be graded by the professor based upon the following criteria: content, creativity, structure, preparedness, and clarity.  The oral report grading form can be found on D2L (see Instructor Guide for Oral Presentation Policy) will total all the scores by your group members, divide by the number of members in the group and multiply by 20%.  My score for the group will be 80% of the total points.  I will simply add the two subtotals to determine your group project grade.

For example, if there are 3 other group members and they score you as follows:

92, 90, 88

I will add these scores together (totaling 270 points); divide by 3 (the number of group members) and multiply by .20 (20%) for a subtotal of 18

Let's say my score for the group (one grade for the entire group) was 88.  I will then multiply 88 by .80 (80%) for a subtotal of 70.4

 I will simply add the subtotals of 18 and 70.4 for a final project grade of 88.4.

Case Briefs should be in proper legal case brief format (once again, pull this off of the homepage under "How to do a case brief") 


No text will be required for this course; however, outside reading/research is likely.

Attendance and other policies:

The student is expected to attend each class. Any student who misses class will be deducted 30 points (whether excused or not), not including any in-class assignment. This is considered part of your classroom participation grade.  If you are not in class, you are unable to participate.  No exceptions or excuses!  Late papers/presentations, make-up work for class assignments, etc. will not be accepted.  Please do not bother to ask for an extension; it will not be granted.  The student is expected to be in class at the start of the class period. Persistent tardiness will not be tolerated (the student may be denied admission into the class if tardy [2 tardies = 1 absence]).  Any student not paying attention, such as falling asleep in class, working on another assignment, playing on a computer, fiddling with a cell phone, etc., may be counted absent for that day (without notification).


If you bring a cell phone to class, please turn off the ringer (you may wish to put the phone on vibrate).  If you receive a call during class, do NOT respond to the message unless it is an emergency that the entire class should be made aware of (example - a campus emergency).  Laptops and other computer/recording devices are NOT allowed to be in use during class. This will minimize unnecessary distractions that often accompany the use of these electronic devices (sorry - you will have to take notes the old fashion way - via handwriting).

Academic Integrity:

Radford University is committed to the highest standards of academic honesty. Acts of academic dishonesty  include plagiarism, cheating, bribery, academic fraud, sabotage of research materials, the sale of academic papers, the purchase of academic papers, and the falsification of records. An individual who engages in these or related activities or who knowingly aids another who engages them, is acting in an academically dishonest manner and will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the bylaws and procedures of Radford University (See Student Code of Conduct Handbook).

Each member of the academic community is expected to give full, fair, and formal credit to any and all sources that have contributed to the formulation of ideas, methods, interpretations, and findings. The absence of such formal credit is an affirmation that the work is fully the writer’s. The term "sources" includes, but is not limited to, published or unpublished materials, lectures, lecture notes, computer programs, mathematical and other symbolic formulations, course papers, examinations, theses, dissertations, and comments offered in class or informal discussions. The representation that such work of another is the writer’s represents plagiarism.

Care must be taken to document the source of any ideas or arguments. If the actual word of a source is used, it must appear within quotation marks. In cases that are unclear, the writer must take due care to avoid plagiarism.

The source should be cited whenever:

  1. A text is quoted verbatim
  2. Data gathered by another are presented in diagrams or tables/charts
  3. The results of a study conducted by another are used
  4. The work or intellectual effort of another is paraphrased by the writer.

Since the intent to deceive is not a necessary element (strict liability), careful note taking and record keeping is essential in order to avoid plagiarism. In other words, it is like being a little bit pregnant (you either are or you are not). One cannot have "accidental/unintentional" plagiarism!

Students should consult members of the faculty for clarification of the definition and substance of this policy on plagiarism as it applies to their particular discipline.

(Source: City University of New York – Proposal on Plagiarism).

Student Accommodations:

Students seeking accommodations are required to provide documentation from an appropriate health care provider or professional. The documentation must outline the functional limitations that substantially limit a major life activity. Providers are also asked to provide recommendations for reasonable accommodations based upon the disability. However, Radford University's disability services professionals ultimately decide on what accommodations are appropriate and reasonable.

Having a diagnosis is not the same as having a disability!

ADA Statement

If you are seeking academic accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act at Radford University, you are required to register with the Disability Resource Office (DRO). To receive academic accommodations for this class, please submit your documentation to the DRO in the lower level of Tyler Hall Suites 54-69, by fax to 540-831-6525, by email to  After submitting documentation to the DRO, you will set up an interview with a Disability Services Specialist to discuss accommodations. You will be notified via email once your accommodation package is complete and ready to be picked up. Once you have picked up your accommodation package, you will need to meet with me during office hours (or a day and time that is convenient for both of us) to review and discuss your package. For more information and/or for documentation guidelines, visit or call 540-831-6350.

The Learning Resource Center

The Learning Assistance and Resource Center (LARC), located in 125 Walker Hall, is open to all students Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.  Certified, trained tutors provide help with basic study skills, writing, and content-specific material.  An appointment is necessary and can be made by calling 831-7704, emailing, or IMing “rularcappt."

Campus Emergency Information

To promote emergency preparedness: Sign up for the RU Alert notificationsystem; know safe evacuation routes from your classrooms; listen for and follow instructions from RU or other designated authorities; be familiar with emergency policies and procedures; and know the phone number for the RU PoliceDepartment (540-831-5500). Additional information is available from the RU Office of Emergency Preparedness (  In the event of a University-wide emergency, course requirements, classes, deadlines and grading schemes are subject to changes that may include alternative delivery methods, class materials, due dates, assignments, and/or course policies.(for additional information, see:

** This syllabus is subject to change!!