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June 2016

SR in the Curriculum

(19 June 2016)

In support of the priority to encourage socially responsible graduates, Humanities provides funding to course leaders through the annual Social Responsibility in the Curriculum competition. The aim is for Humanities students to be encouraged to think how their enthusiasm for their subject can communicate, connect or be relevant beyond the immediate demands of their course.

Each issue we will be featuring a project which has benefited from the competition. This issue, we introduce you to a project by Dr Jo Deakin and Dr Claire Fox, Senior Lecturers in the School of Law, on the realities of criminal justice.

‘Criminology and Criminal justice in Action’ is a discipline-related employability course unit allowing students to explore a range of criminal justice-related career paths and develop relevant transferable skills. The funded project provided students with additional knowledge and experience of the realities of criminal justice, beyond the academic expectations of the course. Alongside more traditional-style lectures and workshops, students engaged with professionals and service users through a range of activities which centred on the theme of community engagement. The engagement activities with criminal justice professionals, charitable and arts-based organisations, and service users built on students’ experience of the realities of criminal justice from a variety of perspectives.

Guest speakers from criminal justice agencies and charitable organisations took part in a Question Time panel session hosted jointly by the School of Law and Theatre in Prisons and Probation (TiPP) Research and Development Centre, and students had a two-hour workshop on Police investigations with ITV’s award-winning crime reporter and news anchor Matt O’Donoghue. Students thoroughly enjoyed the reality of these sessions, and were able to understand how criminological theory can be used in different types of practice and policy-making. 

A group of students went on a field trip to a programme for domestic violence (DV) perpetrators, where they engaged in conversations with DV intervention workers and watched video footage of group sessions with perpetrators. Students experienced the role of ‘facilitator’ in group sessions, heard stories of offending and desistance from a group of perpetrators, and learnt about the challenges facing those helping them desist. 

The students then used the knowledge they had gained to complete a group assessment task. Supported by a European DV umbrella support organisation, they designed resources (posters, websites, social media accounts) to raise awareness about male victims of DV and point male victims towards support. A representative from the organisation also delivered a workshop to the students to help them prepare for the assessment, and returned to help provide feedback when they presented their resources, some of which will be used by the organisation in its future work.  

One of the guest speakers delivering a session to the students was Chris Gwenlan from the National Probation Service, who is also one of the University’s visiting lecturers.