Introducing Florida Atlantic University’s Newest College
On July 1, 2020, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) officially welcomed its newest college: the College of Social Work & Criminal Justice, which encompasses the Phyllis & Harvey Sandler School of Social Work and the School of Criminology & Criminal Justice. These two sister schools have formed a strong and lasting partnership rooted in a shared commitment to advocating for justice, mobilizing resiliency and promoting equality across our one human race.
Our nation is at the intersection of, firstly, an unprecedented global pandemic that has further illuminated the racial, health and economic disparities in our country and our world; secondly, an international movement for much-needed change in response to police brutality against Black people; and thirdly, an extremely divisive time in our nation’s history when so many are desperately seeking meaningful transformation and connections.
The College of Social Work & Criminal Justice is well-positioned to make a deep and lasting impact in these and many other challenging areas, including reentry and reintegration, child welfare, healthy aging, mental health, the opioid epidemic, addiction, human trafficking and many others critical social problems. Our nationally and internationally acclaimed faculty are passionately working to find answers through education, scholarship, and applied research and public service activities, as well as to inspire and prepare tomorrow’s social work and criminal justice leaders, scholars, practitioners and policymakers to effect positive change in the world.
The College of Social Work and Criminal Justice is headquartered in the Social Science building on the Boca Raton campus and also offers classes at the University’s satellite campuses in Davie and Jupiter. Our college offers a variety of degree programs, including:
- Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, the third largest major at FAU
- Bachelor of Social Work, the largest BSW program in the state
- Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice
- Master of Social Work, ranked third in the nation by GraduatePrograms.com
- Doctor of Social Work, the first DSW program in the state
The college also offers three specialization certificate programs in the Sandler School of Social Work:
As well as four post-graduate certificate programs:
School of Criminology & Criminal Justice
Sandler School of Social Work
We are also proud to have long-standing partnerships with more than 350 community agencies from Miami-Dade to Vero Beach, giving our students boundless opportunities to develop meaningful service learning experience and job readiness skills in their chosen field before they graduate.
The College of Social Work and Criminal Justice also houses a number of research and service centers within the Sandler School of Social Work, including the Child Welfare Institute, the Healthy Aging Academy and the Robin Rubin Center for Happiness and Life Enhancement.
The immense faculty expertise and strong community partnerships within our two schools produce graduates who are prepared to make a difference. Our alumni enter the fields of social work and criminal justice fully trained to analyze, implement and evaluate criminal justice and social welfare policies and practices; address discriminatory systems and processes; provide direct services to vulnerable populations; restore justice and promote equal access to care.
Watch cyberbullying expert Dr. Sameer Hinduja’s top tips for how to keep your identity safe.
We are pleased to announce that, beginning in Fall 2020:
- the School of Architecture and the School of Public Administration will join the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters;
- the School of Urban and Regional Planning will join the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science;
- and the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice & the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work will partner to become the new College of Social Work and Criminal Justice (new website coming soon!).
Check out our comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions for helpful answers related to the transition.
The Sandler School of Social Work and the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice naturally pair well together because of their shared vision for effecting social change, driven by their considerable overlap in curriculum and research areas, as well as their impact objectives.
In much the same ways, the Schools of Architecture and Public Administration will find more symmetry with their colleagues in Graphic Design and Political Science within the Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. The same is true for the School of Urban and Regional Planning, which complements the Geoscience and Environmental Sciences departments within the Schmidt College of Science.
Remember that for now, it’s business as usual, with an added splash of excitement as we all look forward to this fresh, new chapter!
On Sunday, February 9, 2020, more than 700 people attended one of two performances of “Only One”, the play on human sex trafficking written by senior Criminal Justice student Abigail Howard. The riveting 45-minute play tells the story of three teens who become victims of sex trafficking and share how they got there – one lured by a false opportunity to become an actor; one who was meeting his online boyfriend for the first time in person; and one who had been groomed to believe she was in a meaningful relationship. The name of the play comes from the sobering statistic that only one percent of trafficking victims are rescued.
Following both performances, expert panelists shared invaluable safety tips with parents and youth in the audience.
- Dr. Calli Cain, producer, panel moderator, and Assistant Professor in the FAU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
- Pastor Alfredo Castro, Ministry Relations Director of Glory House of Miami
- Special Agent Katina Hernandez, Homeland Security Investigations and South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force
- Sgt. Carlos Lisboa, Coordinator of the Palm Beach County Human Trafficking Task Force
- Alex Ortiz, Director of Business Development for the Child Rescue Coalition
- Dr. Heidi Schaeffer, President of the Human Trafficking Coalition of the Palm Beaches
- Alma Tucker, International Network of Hearts
Attendees learned that victims and traffickers represent all genders, ages, races, income levels and sexual orientations, and that Florida ranks third in the nation for reported cases of trafficking. The panelists also shared safety tips – such as the importance of keeping gaming and smartphone devices in a common area of the home, to have open dialogue with kids of all ages on how to establish safe physical and information boundaries; and where to go for more information:
Panelists also encouraged all attendees to add the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888 to their phone contacts and report any suspicious behavior. As Special Agent Hernandez said, “If it turns out to be a false alarm, great. But if it turns out to be trafficking, you’ve saved a life.”
Dr. Sameer Hinduja was asked by the State of Pennsylvania to share his research on empathy, resilience, and school climate with Senators, Representatives, and other dignitaries in the State Capitol Rotunda in late October. In doing so, he encouraged policymakers to embrace asset-building and strength-based approaches.
Drs. Gabriel Cesar, Vaughn Crichlow, Lisa Dario, and MSCCJ Program Coordinator Dr. Cassandra Atkin-Plunk hosted the first MSCCJ Professional Development Series event of the semester: “Thrive not Survive: Tips and Tricks for Successfully Navigating Graduate School” on Wednesday, September 25th. Faculty presented on various topics related to how to thrive in graduate school: successful goal-setting, building healthy professional relationships, coauthoring and publication, data collection and management, competition and collaboration with peers, and rejection, criticism, and grit.
The event was open to all CCJ graduate students and graduate assistants. Here’s what a few of them had to say:
“I just wanted to say thank you for hosting this event. It was awesome! I’m very happy to be part of a program that cares so much about their students.”
“I thought our Professional Development Seminar was excellent. All three speakers were thorough and reassuring.”
“I really appreciated what all of you and your colleagues had to say on Wednesday evening.”
“I look forward to more events like this.”
Stay tuned for more events like this one coming your way soon!
Images from the Event:
In order to foster the exchange of ideas and best practices in funded research, senior colleagues with significant extramural funding experience have the opportunity to be paired with tenure-track and research faculty members who wish to be mentored and commit to submitting a fundable research proposal at the end of the one-year mentoring period.
The proposal submitted by Dr. Wendy Guastaferro (mentor) and Dr. Laura Backstrom, Asst. Professor in Sociology (mentee) as part of the mentoring program was awarded! Dr. Backstrom is going to work on a grant proposal for a study that will use a mixed methods design to assess decision-making processes in Early Childhood Courts with a focus on the role of community members (Guardian ad Litems, foster parents, and advocates) and social network analysis to examine the impact of the court’s actions on children whose parents come before the court.
The proposed study will follow a subsample of children through age 8 and utilize court and Department of Children and Families data to examine child well-being outcomes.
Dr. Morgan Cooley (mentee) has partnered with Dr. Nancy Jones (mentor) in Psychology on a proposal that was also awarded! Dr. Cooley’s work will be working to identify and understand risk and protective factors at the individual, family, and system levels in order to improve the well-being of foster youth, parents, and child welfare professionals.
Mentors receive $1,000 for research support, and mentees receive a course release, up to $2,000, plus travel funds up to $500 to visit a Program Officer.
Dr. Sameer Hinduja, Professor in the FAU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking research on the impact of the virtual world and social media on violence and student safety. He recently shared his expertise with the Federal Commission on School Safety headed by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Washington, D.C.
The Cyber & Classroom Connection
Hinduja kicked off the meeting by sharing findings that there is significant overlap between students who experience cyberbullying online and those who experience bullying at school.
“In our most recent study of a nationally-representative sample of approximately 5,700 middle and high-school students across America, 34% say that they have been cyber-bullied during their lifetime,” Hinduja said. “In addition, 12% revealed that they had cyberbullied others during their lifetime. So that’s one-third of youth across America indicating they’ve been bullied online, and about one in ten stating they have bullied others online. We also know that more than 80% of those being cyberbullied are also being bullied at school, indicating a strong overlap.”
Four Recommendations for Long-Term Change
After sharing that the ad-hoc strategies schools often employ are lacking in terms of lasting impact, Hinduja shared his four recommendations to the Federal Government for comprehensive and systemic change:
- Create a positive school climate of connectedness.
- Modify social norms to reward responsible social media behavior.
- Tap into students’ knowledge to help set achievable standards.
- Implement resilience programming for empowerment.
In closing, Dr. Hinduja recommended that the Federal Government provide more personnel and funding to schools, add funding for research to make sure initiatives are optimized, seek better ways to get best practices into the hands of those who need them, and finally, promote accountability at the school, state, and federal levels.
“This will help ensure that adequate resources are provided so that our students can thrive, and our communities can flourish,” Hinduja said.
Click below to watch Dr. Hinduja make his recommendations to the Federal Commission on School Safety.
Congratulations to Dr. Lincoln Sloas, Assistant Professor in the FAU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, for being named the 2018 FAU Faculty Mentor of the Year – a completely student-nominated and student-elected award through FAU’s Mentoring Project.
College often means new experiences, responsibilities, demands, and decisions. For many students, it’s not always easy to navigate their new world and balance challenging course loads. Mentorship can make all the difference in a student’s success.
“Having someone to talk about classes, but also life in general, is very important,” Sloas said. “Sometimes students don’t have that outlet, so having someone like me can help them progress in their college career and in their life. I find great value in taking stock in students’ lives at FAU and post-graduation, and then keeping track so I can watch their careers flourish.”
Ms. Hanna Cedillo, a second-semester freshman, was named Mentee of the Year. Cedillo and Sloas have been working together as mentor and mentee throughout the 2017-18 academic year.
“His mentees know he bends over backwards to provide them with information, opportunities, and resources,” said Dr. John Smykla, School Director and Professor. “He also encourages them to produce quality work, and he does it with humility. Dr. Sloas is open to learning from students, rather than always looking for opportunities to advance his own work, and his award is well-deserved.”