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UC Ranked No. 1 Nationally
In Criminal Justice Research

Date: Jan. 22, 2001
By: Carey Hoffman
Phone: (513) 556-1825
Archive: General News

The criminal justice division within the University of Cincinnati's College of Education is the nation's leader in publication of research, according to a survey article in the latest edition of the Journal of Criminal Justice.

UC and the University of Maryland were strongly entrenched in the top two positions in the survey, which was based on research published in leading criminology and criminal justice journals between 1995 and 1999. Using a weighted system of measurement, UC published almost 32 articles by 86 researchers during that time frame. Maryland published nearly 30 articles by 69 researchers. No other program exceeded 21 publications in the survey.

The ranking highlights a decade of rapid, strong growth for the division, which only started its doctoral program in 1991.

"This ranking says a lot about our faculty and our graduate students," said Ed Latessa, head of the criminal justice division. "We've had a great record of placing our doctoral students with other universities and attracting top students. This is the kind of study that is going to make it even easier to continue that."

The top of the rankings were dominated by institutions housing doctoral programs in criminal justice, a trend the authors - Jon Sorensen of Fitchburg State College and Rocky Pilgrim of the Boston College School of Law - say suggests that criminal justice may be maturing as an academic discipline.

The authors' conclusions included a statement that "institutions should receive the credit for attracting, retaining and encouraging high level of productivity among its faculty."

Besides the current survey, the authors also compared their findings to similar studies conducted in 1981 and 1994. The UC criminal justice program didn't crack the top 25 in 1981, but had ascended to the No. 10 spot by 1994.

Two UC faculty members were included in a ranking of most published individual authors. Distinguished Research Professor Frank Cullen was third on the list and associate professor John Wooldredge was fourth. The calculation used for the ranking, however, did not include co-authorship of articles. When co-authorship was considered, Cullen was far and away the national leader with 25 authorships.

Overall, the UC criminal justice division has only 14 faculty members, which probably places it among the bottom quartile in size of all departments nationally, Latessa said.

That consideration gives the journal's ranking that much more impact.

"The real question now is whether we can sustain it," Latessa said. "There's an important point to make, that this isn't a study of reputation and people's perceptions, which you can keep for a long time even if you're not that good. This ranking is about scholarship and production, and if you don't produce, you'll be gone the next time."

The survey was the second recent major acknowledgment of the UC criminal justice program as a national leader. In a 1998 publication, the Journal of Criminal Justice Education rated UC No. 2 nationally in an analysis of top criminal justice departments. The program ties into the strong overall research environment at UC, ranked in July as one of the top 20 public research universities nationally in the annual report of the Lombardi Program on Measuring University Performance.

In addition to its doctoral program, UC's criminal justice division has also this year expanded its graduate program with the start-up of a new distance-learning master's degree program that is attracting students from the police and criminal justice ranks from coast to coast. The program is being run in cooperation with Compass Knowledge, making it the first public-private contractual arrangement for distance learning among Ohio's universities.

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