--The focus of this course is the study of criminal behavior as it relates to several varieties of crime. Major emphasis will be placed on criminological theories. --This semester long course provides an exploration of the causes of crime in American society, facilitating an ability to think and express one’s self clearly about the causes of crime. Students will be challenged to go beyond simple explanations, in order to better understand the complex influences on human behavior that lead to criminal thoughts, urges, and behavior. Students will also be exposed to various myths and misperceptions about crime and criminals. Course materials are designed to maximize fascination for the subject matter. Most experts agree that criminology encompasses a wide range of subfields. There is no clear-cut definition of what criminology encompasses and does not. In other words, there are aspects of this course that are interdisciplinary.
-- Practice critical reading -- Develop critical thinking skills -- Listen and participate actively in discussion, debate, presentation, and cooperative activities -- Construct sociological arguments based on complex (and potentially conflicting) data -- Relate the impact of crime upon political, social, and economic developments -- Build upon a strong theoretical knowledge of crime
Guest Speakers -- Attorney of Law, Jeff Boyarsky
Ride Along Program -- Students are required to spend 5 hours with either the Menlo Park or Palo Alto police department
Videos -- The Farm -- The Zimbardo Prison Experiment -- American Me -- Monster -- Clips from Bowling From Columbine
-- Debates (I.E. what role does race play in the justice system) -- Lecture -- Video and discussion -- Reading recent articles
-- Students are required to write a three page paper addressing a recent crime in the news and connecting that crime to two criminology/sociology theories we have addressed in class. -- Students will have a traditional midterm on identifications, vocabulary, short answer, etc. -- Students will have a group final in which they will need to analyze a "miniature murder." They will need to seek out clues, assess the crime scene, in essence take the sum of the class and write a report of what they believe took place within their team's dollhouse. -- Class participation and discussion
-- Students will be able to address classic criminology (theory) as well as some leading perspectives on current criminology. -- Students will become familiar with how investigators "read" the scene of a crime. -- Students will better understand the role the U.S. Constitution plays within the criminal justice system. -- Students will be able to address current debates within criminology/criminal justice system and have an informed voice when creating their own opinions.