Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice

Spring 2006 Newsletter

SPOTLIGHT: Intro. CJ Class Visits Local Prison

Ever wonder what it’s really like inside a prison? A group of students from the department’s “Criminal Justice in America” course saw for themselves when they visited Riverfront State Prison in Camden last December, accompanied by Professor Jane Siegel. Their visit began with an orientation where a captain discussed the challenges correctional officers face trying to manage an inmate population when prisoners far outnumber the officers. Students were shown a display of handmade weapons confiscated from inmates over the years. The weapons, crafted from everyday objects such as soda cans, pens and toothbrushes, illustrated what ingenuity can produce when people have nothing but time on their hands. 
Correctional officers accompanied the students as they made their way into the prison. Many students were amazed to see the prisoners walking around in corridors or in outdoor yards despite the cold, because they had assumed that prisoners spent all their time locked in their cells (Riverfront is not a maximum security prison). The students saw the small cells where prisoners live as well as the classrooms where some attend GED or training courses, the gym they use for recreation, and the infirmary. They also were able to visit a so-called “therapeutic community,” which at Riverfront is a substance abuse program where the inmates live and try to help each other prepare for a drug-free life after prison.
The highlights of the visit were the meetings the students had with the administrator (what we used to call the “warden”) of the prison and with a group of inmates. The administrator, Dr. David Parrish, is a psychologist who has many innovative ideas about corrections and how to make prisons more effective at deterring future criminal behavior committed by ex-prisoners. (Dr. Parrish shares some of his ideas in an article entitled “Treatment of the Offender: Creating a Context for Change.”) Students were surprised by his frank assessment of current prisons as institutions that do a poor job of rehabilitating offenders, as evidenced by the fact that an estimated 60-75% of prisoners in New Jersey are rearrested following their release. 
After Dr. Parrish’s talk, students met with a group of eight inmates who answered questions and discussed life in prison and their aspirations for the future. The inmates candidly talked about the reasons why they were in prison and the difficulties they had experienced as a result of being incarcerated. Some had been in prison nearly 20 years, but all expected to be released at some point. Given media depictions of prisons and prisoners, it’s not surprising that students had expected to encounter fierce, violent, profoundly antisocial men. Instead, they found the men they met to be thoughtful, open and articulate. Students report that their visit to prison was an eye-opening experience that enhanced their understanding of incarceration in ways their textbooks never could, and Dr. Siegel plans to continue such visits as part of the Criminal Justice in America course in the future.






Fall 2006 Preregistration News and Advice
Read this before you register!

Preregistration for the Fall 2006 Semester begins April 2nd. All students are strongly encouraged to see a departmental advisor in planning their schedule. Sociology majors may see any sociology or anthropology faculty members they choose, or be assigned an advisor by the department secretary, Sherry Pisacano. Criminal Justice uses an advisor pool system; click here for current advising hours.

New Options for Majors:
Introduction to Latin American Studies (590:210) now fulfills the multicultural requirement for the criminal justice major.
When taught by Professor Goertzel, the course can also serve as an elective for the sociology major (get Prof. Goertzel or Wood to initial your sociology major worksheet). Dr. Goertzel will be teaching the course in the first summer session (M-Th 8:00-10:30 am) and in the spring of 2007.
Selected Urban Studies courses now can count as one elective in the sociology major. 
Check the sociology major webpage for details.

New Summer Courses:
Exciting new courses in the summer include Japanese Media, which will explore cultural globalization by looking at video games, anime, film, and more. Another new course, Social Issues and Social Policy, will be taught by Angela Connor, a former sociology major at Rutgers-Camden who went on to receive both an MSW and MPA and now works for the Center for Children and Childhood Studies.. 
New courses in criminal justice include Social Justice in Film, Prisoners Rights, and Federal Criminal Justice. Check out the full range of offerings by following the links below.

New Fall Internship/Service Learning Opportunity:
Internships and service learning placements provide valuable practical experience and often serve to connect students with potential employers.
Service Learning Internship in Health Literacy and Cultural Competency for Camden’s Healthcare Providers, offered as a three-credit independent study either in sociology (Dr. Wood) or psychology (Dr. Whitlow). Students will work as part of a larger team of social work and health professionals and will participate in focus groups with Camden families as consumers of the health systems in Camden; the development of health education materials; health education seminars for Camden families and health literacy assessments. Students will be responsible for meeting with their assigned clinical team on a bi-weekly basis. Training and coordination will be provided by Angela Connor, Senior Program Director, Center for Children and Childhood Studies. Interested students should email or call Ms. Connor at (856) 225-6739 to set up an appointment to discuss the internship and to make the necessary credit arrangements.

Quick Access to Course Information:

Summer Courses
Anthro CJ Soc
Fall 2006 Dept. Courses

Pre-Registration Reminders: 
All Sociology and CJ majors should take Methods and Techniques of Social Research (920:301) as soon as possible. This course is a prerequisite for a number of upper-level courses, and knowledge of MicroCase and the basics of data analysis are increasingly expected in all upper-level courses. Note: the methods course also fulfills the second math requirement in the CCAS curriculum.

Sociological Theory, required for all sociology majors, is only offered in the fall. Because Dr. Wood may be on leave in 2007-8, all current soc majors who have not taken it are encouraged to do so in fall 2006.
Remember that Dr. Goertzel’s Communication class (920.341) counts both as a sociology elective and as a “writing intensive” course in the college curriculum.In the fall semester, however, Dr. Goertzel will be on leave.
Many of your questions about advising may be answered by consulting our department’s Sociology Advising Page and our Criminal Justice Advising Page.


Aisha Lewis

George Masterton Award Goes to Aisha Lewis and Tyler Richendollar

Graduating seniors Aisha Lewis (CJ) and Tyler Richendollar (Sociology) have been chosen to receive the annual George Masterton Award, named for the original chair of the department. While there were many fine candidates this year, Aisha and Tyler earned the highest GPA’s in their respective majors. Aisha achieved this while mothering three children and participating in a range of community activities, while Tyler has distinguished himself as one of the campus’ most active student leaders and citizens. Aisha will be moving to Florida after graduation to join her husband and to look for jobs in federal criminal investigation, while Tyler expects to join Teach For America. The department extends its hearty congratulations to both.
Tyler Richendollar

African-American Culture Course Gets the Blues

Dr. Siegel’s criminal justice class went to prison, but Dr. Katrina Hazzard-Donald’s fall class got the blues at Warmdaddy’s restaurant and blues club in Philadelphia. Thanks to funding from the African American Studies program and from the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, the students in the class had a memorable evening at one of Philadelphia’s most famous African American cultural institutions. “Before this class,” said Aisha Lewis in the Gleaner, “people thought [the blues] was a sad song.” Extensive listening and analysis of blues music in class, combined with the evening at Warmdaddy’s, turned the class into connoisseurs of this profound African American contribution to American music and culture. Warm thanks to Professor Wayne Glasker, Director of African American Studies, for his support.

Rutgers Sociology student filmmakers present their work at the Eastern Sociological Society in 2005

Think You’re an Old Hand? Try the New Student Challenges!

At the request of the Admissions Office, we’ve created a special webpage for prospective students in sociology, anthropology and criminal justice. It lays out three “challenges” for students to test their ability to think in sociological, anthropological, and criminological terms. Feel free to take up the challenges at the Welcome Page for New and Prospective Students.

Safer Cities Research Group with Prof. Jon’s Meyer

8th Annual Undergraduate Research Poster Session Set for Wednesday, April 26th

Mark your calendars for this year’s poster session, co-sponsored by the Departments of Psychology and Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice. All are invited, 12:15-1:30 in the Campus Center Multi-Purpose Room, and lunch is provided. All students are invited to bring poster presentations of research carried out during the current academic year. Students planning to make a poster presentation should register onlineby April 24th in order to be included in the printed program. Be sure to join fellow students and faculty at the annual end of the semester event.



Departmental Online Resources Continue to Expand

Recent additions to the department’s extensive website include streaming video clipsfrom her African fieldwork to accompany Prof. Cati Coe’s recently-published book,Dilemmas of Culture in African Schools: Nationalism, Youth and the Transformation of Knowledge. The Down Germantown Avenue film, designed to accompany Elijah Anderson’s Code of the Street, continues to attract several requests for the DVD version each week, as well as laudatory comments about the students’ work. Of potential interest to future graduate students is Prof. Jon’a Meyer’s substantial expansion of the website of the M.A. in Criminal Justice program. And we’ve provided more information about our adjunct faculty on our faculty webpage.

If you’re not yet familiar with it, we recommend exploring our website, which provides a broad array of resources to assist you in finding the information you need and in doing well in your courses. As the illustration below shows, the website is divided into two sections, the departmental homepage and the web-enhanced curriculum, each with its own set of resource links. Check it out!

Departmental Homepage

Online Syllabi & Course Web sites
Masters Program in Criminal Justice
Current Newsletter
Major Requirements
Minor Requirements
Course Schedule 
Departmental Mailing List
Masterton Award
Advising FAQs 
Poster Session Album
Faculty Resources

Web-Enhanced Curriculum Homepage
Online Syllabi & Course Web sites
Masters Program in Criminal Justice
Current Newsletter

Plagiarism Policy and Guidelines
Citation Guidelines
Table and Graph Format 
Library Resources Online 
MicroCase Resources
Online Research Tutorials and Videos
Virtual Tours
Recommended Web sites
Writing in the Discipline
Student Research Opportunities
Streaming Audio and Video Project 

You can learn more about our web-enhanced curriculum in the online journal, Innovate,which included an article about our department in its first issue by Prof. Wood, entitled“Scaling Up: From Web-Enhanced Courses to a Web-Enhanced Curriculum. To access it, you must register for free at the Innovate site (just unclick the box about promotions if you don’t want to receive them). It’s a good way to learn about how the department is using technology to enhance teaching and learning and what its website has to offer you.

Dept. E-Mailings: Periodic department mailings about events and departmental news are sent to all sociology and criminal justice majors. To receive them, be sure that you have declared sociology or cj as your major and be sure that the email address you wish to use is registered at the Rutgers student directory. The list is more fully described at the department’s E-Mailing List web page

October 12, 2006 . Contact Robert Wood with comments or questions.