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The Criminology Department was founded at Indiana State University in 1972. The Department curriculum was organized around courses in policing and corrections and several of its original faculty members had professional experience in those fields, establishing a practitioner emphasis that would characterize the Department for decades. A milestone in the Department’s history occurred in the late 1970s when the Journal of Criminal Justice ranked the ISU Criminology Department fourth in the nation in terms of scholarly productivity. With this, the Department earned a reputation for being one of the top criminology departments in the United States. With the rise in U.S. crime rates during the 1980s—exacerbated by the crack cocaine epidemic, the growth of predatory street gangs, and the concomitant move toward mass incarceration—the Department’s enrollments soared.
By 1999, the Department had grown to have a combined undergraduate/graduate enrollment of 547 majors. In addition to traditional courses in policing and corrections, theory and methods, the curriculum was expanded to include directed electives ranging from classes on environmental law and hate crimes to gangs, white collar crime, and drugs and crime. Highlights of Departmental activities included a student honor society (Alpha Phi Sigma) and a professional fraternity (Lambda Alpha Epsilon); a state-of-the-art criminalistics lab and moot court room; student internship programs; and placement assistance through the Department’s Annual Career Fair.
By the 2010s, the combined enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students increased to more than 900, and the Criminology proved to be exceptionally productive over the first five years of the decade, generating more than one hundred research articles, chapters, monographs and scholarly books. The faculty have organized international conferences, won major grant awards, and established foreign teaching partnerships in Croatia and the United Kingdom. Opportunities for students continue to flourish as the department continues its focus on career readiness thorough an alumni speaker series and continuation of the annual departmental Career Fair. To keep up with the dramatically changing times in criminology and criminal justice, in 2018 the department is bringing two new majors to its students – CYBERCRIMINOLOGY AND SECURITY STUDIES and INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS. These majors will give students an education which prepares them for employment in cutting-edge criminal justice fields.