In conducting a research to determine the best criminal justice graduate program in the Midwest, it would be best to select measures that are able to clearly give snapshots of what to expect from each program. These measures are faculty quality, student-instructor ratios in both classes and research, graduate prominence in criminal justice institutions, and program standing with accrediting organizations.
The first measure can be ordinal, nominal, and ratio. Basically, we need to examine the credentials of the faculty members teaching in the said program. This examination includes the number of papers that they’ve published in peer-reviewed journals, their positions in academic organizations, as well as their rankings in relevant and recognized academic competitions. Of course, we need to compare each of these variables for this measure separately. This measure gives us a comprehensive view of the level of competence professors in the program have. However, this does not include one of the most important measures which is student feedback, a variable that may often be difficult to obtain due to it being classified in nature.
The next measure is the student-instructor ratio. This is the ratio of the number of students that are found in a class handled by one professor. This can also refer to the number of advisees handled by one professor. Generally, favorable ratios should come closer to one. The larger the ratio is, the more congested classrooms are likely to be. This implied that the professor might not be able to give ample attention to each student. This is especially problematic in terms of research advising. Professors should generally be advising only a few students at a time with research work.
Following the student-teacher ratio is the prominence of the program graduates in criminal justice institutions. This measure can include the positions held by the graduates, the length of time after graduating before they held the said positions, as well as awards that they received in the positions held. This measure gives a preview of what to expect after graduation from the program. Ratio data can be collected by taking the total number of graduates to the number of graduates holding positions in relevant institutions after a certain time period. A bigger ratio would imply poorer graduate performance specifically in the program that they have completed.
Finally, ordinal and nominal data from accrediting institutions can be collected as the fourth measure. Nominal data can be grade accreditations while ordinal data can include program rankings with other programs in the Midwest. With this measure, the student will be able to see just where the program places with respect to other programs according to criteria set by credible bodies.
Following the four measures set in this paper will provide the prospecting student with a comprehensive view on the quality of the graduate school program in criminal justice that he or she seeks to enroll in. The measures selected scrutinize both the competence and availability of faculty members to attend to student needs in both class content and graduate research. The measures also provide means for scrutiny of the program itself by examining the experiences of its graduates. Lastly, direct examination of accreditations provide a clear image of how the academic community views the program. These measures will be successful in evaluating which school offers the best program.