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department writing philosophy

The Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) has the responsibility of providing high-quality education to its students. Part of any education includes the development of writing skills. The department recognizes that writing well is one of the most important skills a criminal justice practitioner can have. As a form of communication, writing relays information often in the form of memoranda, press releases, essays, and reports with various bodies both within and outside of the criminal justice system. To be effective, these mediums must be accurate, understandable, written in the proper format, and free of grammatical errors. The Department of Criminal Justice encourages writing throughout the curriculum. This philosophy is consistent with the College of Liberal Arts goals number 2 and 3 found in the 2010-2015 Strategic Plan, to “promote the General Educational Competencies of reading, writing, speaking, listening, critical thinking, and computer literacy skills,” and to “support and develop high-quality undergraduate and graduate programs that respond to the needs of students, the community, and the nation.”

In the spirit of academic freedom, writing assignments may vary from one professor to the next and by course level. Students may be assigned to write informative paragraphs on assigned subjects, current event papers, legal briefs, incident reports, summaries of academic and trade journal articles, annotated bibliographies, interpretation of data analysis, summaries explaining theory application, research proposals and full scale research term papers.

In general, the level and intensity of writing assignments increases with class level. For example, lower level courses tend to focus on the foundations of writing. Students taking 1000 and 2000 level courses may learn how to write a reference page of researched sources, a short essay perhaps on a current event, or summarize the key points of a peer reviewed journal article. Writing assignments in upper level courses tend to be more complex and are designed to further enhance students’ analytical, critical thinking, and creative skills. Students, for example, may be required to write a theory application paper, analyze legal briefs of court cases, or report their research findings in essay format.

The professors in the Department of Criminal Justice are dedicated to creating excellent writers. The department hopes that Criminal Justice graduates will be capable writers and ready for whatever their careers throw at them. Below please find links to sample writing assignments.

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