Sometimes, your dreams do end up coming true! As an undergrad Justin used to half joke that he would love to teach in Criminal Justice or Political Science at a college level; in truth, the half joke was that he really wished for this to happen. As of fall 2017, Justin has been hired on to teach in Criminal Justice Sciences at Illinois State University! Similar in some ways to the courses Justin has taught prior at Illinois State University in the School of Social Work, this course will have a broader focus on the field of conflict resolution with a unique focus on the Criminal Justice System both in the U.S. and Internationally. Justin’s course will have a theoretical foundation of restorative justice theory and cover mediation in a variety of settings including community policing, judicial (small claims and criminal courts), PK-16, community based (non-financial matter), international reconciliation projects, and other applications of conflict resolution. At the discrepancy of the Chief Judge, participants who complete the course are eligible for certification from the 11th Judicial Circuit of McLean County as a mediator for several mediation opportunities in McLean County.
Assistant Professor for Conflict Resolution Class at Illinois State University
For the fall 2016 semester and beyond, Justin has been hired on as an Assistant Professor at Illinois State University through the School of Social Work! Justin will be teaching a graduate level course open to all majors and is approved for both graduate and undergraduate credit. The course will have a theoretical foundation of restorative justice theory and cover mediation in a variety of settings including judicial (child protection, small claims, foreclosure courts), peer mediation (elementary, secondary, higher education), and other applications of conflict resolution. Participants who complete the course are eligible for certification from the 11th Judicial Circuit of McLean County as a mediator for several mediation opportunities in McLean County.
SWK 330 (Topics in Contemporary Social Work & Social Welfare) will examine conflict resolution as it applies to different areas of professional practice and communities; specifically students will learn about mediation and restorative justice practices as well as the theories that inform them.
More to come!!!
A new approach to Conflict Resolution on college campuses is here!
For the last year and half, Justin had been laying down the groundwork to bring a new model of implementing conflict resolution training and services to college campuses; a student driven process that allowed for both conflict resolution training and services in a self-sustaining model. On September 9th 2015 this vision came to fruition in the form of Redbirds Resolving Conflict!
Excerpt from the official Redbirds Resolving Conflict website:
In the spirit of embracing conflict resolution at Illinois State University, Redbirds Resolving Conflict was founded in the fall of 2015 as an official registered student organization (RSO). Illinois State University has practiced conflict resolution for many years in the form of mediation, restorative justice, etc. however for much of this time, Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution has been the facilitator of such services. As per its own constitution, Redbirds Resolving Conflict was created “to provide conflict resolution services including but not limited to mediation and restorative justice through a student driven organization and process that is in alignment with the Illinois State University Code of Student Conduct and the philosophy of the office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution”.
Members of Redbirds Resolving Conflict are trained in mediation and restorative justice through Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution; allowing these members to be considered Student Conflict Specialists as per the Code of Student Conduct. Student Conflict Specialists are an integral part of the Code of Student Conduct as well as the conflict resolution process; allowing students to facilitate conflict resolution through partnership with Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution
Training in mediation and restorative justice are just a few of the great advantages of being a member of Redbirds Resolving Conflict; all such training is also FREE! Redbirds Resolving Conflict operates just like any other RSO at Illinois State University in that it has an Executive Board, general meetings, official events, etc. Joining Redbirds Resolving Conflict also allows its members to not only provide a critical service to the Illinois State University community and beyond, but also to participate in “mock” mediations and restorative justice conferences, pre-professional events/ conferences, as well as travel to places that are rooted in conflict resolution.
During its inaugural year, Redbirds Resolving Conflict had a roster of over 20 undergraduate and graduate students!
Crime and Punishment, a book about the real nature of punishment and prisons, as well as their downfalls. It is interesting to note however that even though this book was written in 1866, much of the world’s justice and prison systems still reflect an outdated model; Higher Education in the U.S is sadly no different when it comes to looking into many of the Judicial Affairs departments; these are also known as Student Conduct Offices to those institutions that are that much further behind the times.
Within Judicial Affairs, much like in Criminal Justice there are two schools of thought in respect to how to adjudicate policy/ legal violations by students:
1) Punitive– which can be simply summed up as punishing the perpetrator in such a fashion that punishment is not worth the benefit of violation.
2) Educational/ Learning Outcome Based– based off the basic philosophy of Higher Education in which the institution stands to educate the student; in this respect the institution will sanction the student to punishment that is not meant to be negative, but rather is to educate them in the matter of their violation so that their new knowledge will cause them to not reoffend.
For the better part of history, these have been the go-to methodologies for both Higher Education and Criminal Justice, with the pendulum of justice swinging from one extreme to the other as public’s opinion sways with the times and issues.
Not to fear though, much as with the rest of Higher Education, Judicial Affairs is also on the path to evolution; University of Colorado at Boulder can be viewed as the fish to first walk on land in this respect as it can be referred to the main proponent of Restorative Justice in Higher Education. I know what you are thinking, what is Restorative Justice, and why does it sound like a bad Fox show? The simple and at the same time complex answer to this question is that Restorative Justice is a reworking of our entire way of thinking about how crime and policy violations really should be adjudicated in regards t redefining the injured party and its role; this paradigm shift mainly calls for the crime/ policy violation to be between the perpetrator and the community/ actual injured party and not just the state/ institution i.e. Restorative Justice makes the perpetrator answer to those whom they actually wronged in an effort to restore the damage they did.
Now to many people, such a concept may sound a little like the eye for an eye mentality, and in some ways they would be right; Restorative Justice calls for the perpetrator to on several different levels, make things right again between themselves and the injured party. This newer concept has just really began to tap into its true potential, with the beginnings of having student perpetrators understand that their negative actions not only effect their fellow students, but at times even the community at large. It is by having the student understand that they are a part of the community and for better or worse, it is what they make of it; of course, for us Student Affairs professionals, we make sure to instill the notion that we want it to be for the better.
- State on edge of moving from punitive criminal system to restorative justice, conference attendees told (bangordailynews.com)
- ‘Restorative Justice’ talks equality (toledoblade.com)
- Program pursues funds (vernonmorningstar.com)
- “Restorative Justice” Act passes in Colorado (terrortrials.blogspot.com)
- Rose State College in Oklahoma City Begins New Chapter with New… (prweb.com)