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Meet Criminal Justice Grad Coordinator Dr. Michelle Jeanis

UL Grad School -- 09/26/2019

Meet Michelle Jeanis, the new graduate coordinator for our Master of Science in Criminal Justice program.

An assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, Dr. Jeanis’s own research focuses on missing persons, runaway youth, and the relationship between crime and the news. She works with law enforcement agencies and non-profit organizations to increase awareness and solvability of missing persons cases, as well as the risk factors for going missing/running from caregivers.

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice at UL Lafayette is unique in Louisiana because it is the only criminal justice program in the state to focus on juvenile justice, youthful offending, and crime and emerging adulthood.

“The vast majority of risk factors for criminal behavior begin to appear in childhood, and often result in juvenile delinquency, which increases the likelihood of offending trajectories,” Jeanis says. “With a focus on juvenile justice, students gain additional exposure to the field of research that examines this integral part of the criminal justice cycle and system.”

In addition to opportunities to study juvenile justice and youthful offending, the program offers courses that examine public policy, restorative justice, education, poverty,  gender, and drug use and the ways in which these topics intersect with the criminal justice system.
“I'm looking forward to helping engage grad students in their areas of interest and helping them make this next step in their path a meaningful one,” Jeanis notes. “I like their hopefulness for the future and figuring out how best to help them achieve their goals.”

Graduate students in the program are prepared for a wide range of positions requiring an advanced degree. With the MS in Criminal Justice in hand, they’ll be especially prepared for leadership positions in government, private, for-profit and nonprofit agencies that make up the complex justice system.

The program also provides advanced theoretical knowledge and research skills and experience necessary for entering instructor-level positions in criminal justice within institutions of higher education or for entering a doctoral program.

The SPRUCE @UL Lafayette lab, which Dr. Jeanis directs, helps students gain exposure to the criminology/criminal justice research process, and provides them with opportunities to interact with research conducted by criminal justice faculty.

“The future of criminal justice is rooted in evidence-based research that partners with practitioners and law enforcement agencies to ensure that we have a safer and more effective system.” 

Learn more about the Master’s in Criminal Justice program >