Undergraduate Majors and Satisfaction
Criminal Justice as a Liberal Arts Major at Temple University
     Criminal justice is inherently a liberal arts major [1]. There appear at the present time to be three different views on what the goals of a liberal arts major should be: to learn a specified body of content, given the inherent value of that content; to learn a set of  key skills or competencies; and to generate interest in problems and ideas. We try to serve all of those broader goals within our undergraduate curriculum. Students learn basic content: how does the criminal justice system function, and what are the important issues at each stage of functioning? They learn specific skills such as how to evaluate social science data sources and studies. Furthermore, we try to generate interest among our students in the problems at hand not only through course content, but also by providing them opportunities, through experiential learning programs such as "Inside-Out" and our semester-long practicum experience combining field work with in-class work, to see for themselves what challenges confront the system. At its best, the criminal justice major blends elements found in any social science discipline, but presented from multidisciplinary perspectives; as well it addresses issues of application, service and prelaw. Given the attention both to application and problem solving, as well as its grounding in social scientific approaches and data sources, it is not surprising that criminal justice proves a popular major.

How Many
     In the College of Liberal Arts, Criminal Justice is the second most popular major in the college. As of the Fall 2001 semester, Criminal Justice had 554 majors, second to Psychology with 871. [2] The third most popular major was English with 330, followed by Political Science in the fourth position at 323. No other social science major had over 200 undergraduate majors. This same ordering also was evident if we looked at the Fall 2000 numbers when Criminal Justice listed 547 undergraduate majors. [3] So for the last two years Criminal Justice has remained the second most popular major in the College.

Major Productivity Per Faculty Member
     We can gauge the relationship between department faculty resources and student productivity by calculating how many majors there are for each full time faculty member. If we consider just Presidential faculty -- i.e., those who are tenured or on a tenure-track, the 15 Criminal Justice faculty "produced" 36.9 majors per faculty member. If we add in the four visiting appointments present during the fall, the 19 full time Criminal Justice faculty "produced" 29.2 majors per faculty member.
     How does this compare to the College average? Subtracting the Criminal Justice faculty and majors from the College totals, and using all the majors, including undeclared, we see the following. In all the other majors, Presidential faculty "produced" an average of 12.09 majors per Presidential faculty member. Adding in visiting Dean's Appointments, in the rest of the College full-time faculty "produced" 8.70 majors per full time faculty member.
     In short, Criminal Justice faculty "produce" majors at about three times the current College rate.

Transfer and Location
     About 38% of our majors can be considered transfer students from other institutions. [4] Transfer students appeared to account for more of our majors at the Ambler and other satellite campuses, where they made up 58% of our majors, than at the Main campus, where they made up only 34% of our majors. We routinely offer courses at the Center City and Ambler campuses, in addition to the Main campus offerings, and advertise that Ambler students can complete all their major requirements at Ambler College.

     In the College of Liberal Arts, women make up 60.5% of the majors. [5] Criminal Justice majors seem pretty typical of the overall College on this attribute, since 54.6% of our majors are women.

Full-time vs. part-time
     For the Fall 2001 semester, the vast majority of Criminal Justice majors were full time students (86.5%). 

Hours Attempted
     Your typical undergraduate major attempted between four and five three credit-hour courses in the fall; the typical (median) number of credit hours was 14 (average =13.07) and ranged from one to 21 credit hours.

     Focusing on the 417 majors who already had a GPA by the Fall 2001 semester, 9.1% of the majors had a 3.5 grade point average or higher ("A-" or above), 17.5% had a 3.25 average or higher 31.4% had a 3.0 ("B") average or higher. On the other end of the grade distribution, only 6.2% of the majors had a GPA lower than a "C" (below 2.0). [6]

Majors' Satisfaction
     In the Spring of 1996, 1998, and 2000 we surveyed all students in all of our undergraduate courses using a closed-ended survey instrument (n= 642, 554, 603 in the three waves). We usually pick a Tuesday and Wednesday, or a Wednesday and a Thursday in mid-April for the survey administration. Students are instructed to only complete the instrument one time, even if the survey is administered in two or more of their classes. The effort is coordinated through our Undergraduate Committee, and Steve Smith, the Criminal Justice Coordinator at Ambler, has taken the lead role in data cleaning, processing, and analysis. 
     A section of the survey asked students who were majors how satisfied they were with the quality of instruction, and what their overall satisfaction was with their criminal justice major. In 1996 and 1998 we had information from more than 300 majors; in 2000 we had information from 289 majors.[7] The available response categories for the satisfaction questions were: Completely dissatisfied (0) / Very dissatisfied (1) / Dissatisfied (2) / Somewhat dissatisfied (3) / Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied (4) / Somewhat satisfied (5) / Satisfied (6) / Very Satisfied (7) / Completely Satisfied (8) .
     Majors consistently report they are satisfied, overall, with the major. Since 1996 there have been no significant changes in this level of satisfaction with the major. Furthermore, there are no significant differences between Main campus and Ambler levels of satisfaction. The means and standard errors for overall satisfaction were: 

Year     Mean     SE
1996     6.04      .09
1998     5.85      .10
2000     6.13      .10

     Majors consistently report that they are satisfied with the quality of instruction they have received in all of their Criminal Justice classes prior to their survey. There have been no significant changes on satisfaction with instruction since 1996; since 1998, there have been no significant differences between satisfaction with instruction on the Main campus vs. the Ambler location. 
     Is it the case the criminal justice courses "cater" to majors?; are they satisfied with instruction at the expense of non-majors' satisfaction?  This does not appear to be the case. When we compare majors' instructional satisfaction with the satisfaction of all the students, the figures are comparable. If anything, it appears that majors are slightly less satisfied with quality of instruction than are non-majors, but the discrepancies in 1996 and in 2000 were not statistically significant.

The means and standard errors for satisfaction with instruction were as follows:

             Majors                  All Students

Year     Mean     SE          Mean     SE
1996     6.20      .08          6.19      .07
1998     6.03      .09          6.26      .07
2000     6.10      .08          6.21      .06

     In short, Criminal Justice majors appear satisfied overall with their major, and with the quality of instruction they receive in Criminal Justice courses, and it does not look like our undergraduate courses cater to our majors at the expense of non-majors' instructional experiences.

Satisfaction and Type of Instructor
     In 1996, we found that students' satisfaction with quality of instruction was lower for TAs as compared to full-time faculty and adjunct faculty. We then implemented a specific graduate course to better train our graduate students as primary instructors. We found that in 1998, and again in 2000, undergraduates were equally satisfied with the quality of instruction, regardless of whether the instructor was full-time faculty, adjunct faculty, or a graduate instructor. Although the relative improvement in graduate instructors may be due to the course we have implemented, it also could be due to the changes in the specific graduate students who were serving as primary instructors. Nonetheless it was encouraging that the relative improvement coincided with our course offering addressing this issue.

[1] Flanagan, T. J. (2000). "Liberal education and the criminal justice major." Journal of Criminal Justice Education 11: 1-14.
[2] These are "official" Temple University number from the university website. Office of Student Information Systems. "Temple University Fall 2001 Student Profile: College of Liberal Arts. [online: http://www.temple.edu/factbook/profile01/libprofile.html; retrieved 1/2/02]
[3]  Office of Student Information Systems. "Temple University Fall 2001 Student Profile: College of Liberal Arts. [online: http://www.temple.edu/factbook/profile00/libprofile.html; retrieved 1/2/02]
[4] Although there is no set definition of a "transfer" student, we defined a transfer student as someone who matriculated with 27 or more credits at another institution. This would translate at Temple to a 5/4 or a 4/5 load over two semesters, or roughly a full year's worth of academic credit. Unless otherwise mentioned, the figures on the rest of this page were based on major records pulled from ISIS, the main student Information System, in mid-December, 2001.
[5] This number appears to include graduate students as well. If we include our graduate students, the percentage of women is 55%.
[6] Ideally, we would like to know the grades of Criminal Justice majors in non-criminal justice courses, so we could be sure that high GPAs were not simply the result of non-demanding courses within the major. Unfortunately, those data were not available in time for the current report.
[7] So every survey administration has given us information on more than half of our Criminal Justice majors. The rest of the majors were either not taking a criminal justice course that semester, or were not enrolled that semester, or did not answer the survey. But there is no reason to think that responding majors are in any way systematically different from majors who were not surveyed.