TROY – When Troy University criminal justice students return for the fall semester, they'll find they are studying in their own department.
After years of significant growth in both social science and criminal justice degrees, the Department of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences will split into two departments beginning in August.
"I think this gives us an opportunity to have our own identity and to expand the degree and program offerings," said Dr. Jeff Lee, who will serve as chair of the new Department of Criminal Justice.
This move comes after TROY's Criminal Justice graduate and undergraduate majors have become the second-most demanded in the University, second only to psychology. About 2,500 student are in Criminal Justice programs.
"We have grown so large it makes sense for us to split into two departments," said Dr. Bill Grantham, who is the current chair of the department and will serve as chair of the Department of Social Sciences after the split. "Both social sciences and criminal justice are very popular on this campus and eTroy."
He said both programs have always been high in demand, and as the University continues to grow, the programs' popularity has followed suit. Grantham has chaired the department since 2004.L
ee and Grantham both said eTroy growth has contributed greatly to the programs' high demand. In addition, Lee said he believes the Criminal Justice Program has several qualities to attract students.
"The first thing attractive is a lot of students are interested in criminal justice-related themes, whether it's law enforcement, forensics, crime scene investigation or technological advancements in the field — students just find that interesting," Lee said. "Secondly, I would say in tough economic times (law enforcement and corrections) agencies are still hiring people so there are opportunities for employment after graduation."
The joint department now has 14 full-time faculty and staff members and one additional department secretary will be added for criminal justice.