Teaching Criminology and Social Justice in the context of student mobility and internationalised higher education

A/Prof. James Roffee1, Dr Kate Burns2
1Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia, 2Monash University, Clayton, Australia

The use of international mobility experiences presents specific opportunities and tensions, when seeking to teach issues of social justice, particularly in disciplines such as criminology. Decisions to give students access to authentic and experiential learning practices with practitioners, can involve travel to countries and direct engagement with criminal justice institutions and actors, that are known to breach human rights and employ methods and tactics that are widely deemed unethical. However, it is the very act of visiting countries with divergent criminal challenges and responses to criminality, that provide some of the greatest opportunities for student learning, because of the direct engagement with communities and consequent social empathy that can promote greater understandings of social justice.

This paper explores the contested value in the appropriate exposure of students through international mobility experiences, particularly for teaching courses focused on social justice. While it has been argued that scholars in criminology should prioritise disciplinary activities that contribute to the creation of a more just society (Richie, 2011), the utilisation of international learning opportunities and global engagement involving students can be particularly fraught. Utilising interviews with unit/module-leaders, line management and university administrators, the paper unpacks the challenges and processes of navigating the decision to undertake international mobility opportunities from concept stage to on-the-ground delivery. The theoretical concerns and practical challenges surrounding decisions to develop and manage international mobility opportunities for undergraduate students to the United States (in the Trump era), United Kingdom (post-Brexit) and Myanmar (in the treatment of the Rohingya peoples), are discussed.


Dr James Roffee is an Associate Professor of Law and Associate Dean International at Swinburne University of Technology. James has an extensive array of teaching experience in the context of international mobility and is the recipient of the 2017 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence from Monash University. His current research interests include inclusion, marginalisation and crime in LGBTIQ communities and inclusive practices in higher education.

Dr Kate Burns is a Scholarly Teaching Fellow at Monash University. Kate has wide public-sector experience and prior to taking up her academic position at Monash, worked in various public policy positions in the United Kingdom with a focus on the criminal justice system. Kate’s research interests include criminal justice policy, penal systems, incarceration and justice reinvestment

‘University’s way of writing is nothing like it was like in schools’: Embedding academic skills in first year criminology

Dr Juliana Ryan1, Ms Ruth Liston1, Dr Helen McLean1, Dr Greg Stratton1, Ms Rebecca Hiscock1
1RMIT , Melbourne, Australia

The importance of students’ transition into first year is widely recognised in Australian universities, as is the need to explicitly teach academic discourses and skills, given growing student diversity. While it is now routine in many disciplines to embed academic skills in curriculum, this is not always the case in Australian criminology programs, despite expansion nationally. This paper reports on preliminary findings from a project to embed academic skills into the curriculum of two core first year criminology subjects at a large metropolitan university. Data include students’ perceptions and experiences of learning academic skills, drawn from surveys completed through the year, and from students’ reflections on their learning, completed as part of course assessment. Interviews were conducted with teaching staff, who offered insights into academic skill development in criminology. Both academics and students defined academic skills broadly, so as to encompass study skills, such as time management; dispositions, such as motivation; and specific literacies, such as critical thinking and academic writing. Students were generally aware of the skills required for university study, but their perceptions of their competence varied. Meanwhile, teaching staff perceived that students lacked many of these skills and generally did not understand and appreciate the value of ongoing skill development for successful study. This highlighted a gap between students’ perceptions of skills required and their actual ability to demonstrate those skills in their studies. Findings offer some early insights into good practice in learning and teaching academic skills for criminology.



University students studying alongside incarcerated men/women behind prison walls

Dr Marietta Martinovic1, Marg Liddell1
1Rmit University, Melbourne , Australia

The Inside Out Prison Exchange Program has been delivered at two prisons in Victoria, Australia – Dame Phyllis Frost Centre and Marngoneet Correctional Centre since 2015. As part of this program at each prison, 15 incarcerated individuals together with 15 RMIT university students undertake a subject together as equals. Inside Out is an opportunity for people inside prisons to discuss their ‘lived’ criminal justice-related experiences with future criminal justice practitioners, providing personal insights into the operation and effectiveness of the criminal justice system. The evaluation of the program has shown that being given such a ‘voice’ shows incarcerated people that their crime need not define them, and hence enhances their transformative and re-integrative possibilities. This presentation outlines information from this evaluation, including the similarities and differences between the inside and outside students’ experience related to their knowledge of the criminal justice system, stereotypes and the values and challenges of the Inside Out program. The key finding was that student views of the criminal justice system, and each other, were challenged and changed often in unexpected ways.


Dr Marietta Martinovic (BA, Sir John Minogue Medal, MA, APA, PhD) is a Senior Lecturer in Justice and Legal studies at RMIT University in Melbourne in Australia. She has been leading the development and implementation of the first Australian Inside Out Prison Exchange program, which simultaneously engages RMIT students and prisoners in university-level education. She has also been leading two prison-based Think Tanks in which RMIT students and prisoners directly contribute to Corrections Victoria’s policy-making processes related to reducing further offending and improving people’s quality of life both within and outside of prison. On the basis of teaching in prisons Marietta has received two RMIT Teaching Excellence Awards in 2017 – Deputy Vice Chancellor Education’s Award for Good Teaching and Educational Partnerships and Collaborations with Other Organisations. Her key research interests are electronic monitoring, incarceration and teaching in prisons.

Fragmentation in criminology and criminal justice: A threshold concepts perspective

Kerry Wimshurst1
1School Of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University, Mt Gravatt campus, Australia

Criminology has not been short of commentators reflecting upon the nature of their profession. The present research employed threshold concepts theory to explore contemporary criminal justice education in one large school of criminology and criminal justice. The initial focus was an attempt to map powerful (integrative and transformative) concepts in undergraduate teaching. However, it seemed also that this ostensibly pedagogical inquiry had important things to say about university-based criminology in Australia. A sense of ‘fragmentation’ underpins much of what respondents had to say in terms of current intellectual spaces and specialisations, theoretical tensions, and research methodologies. Fragmentation is not, of course, necessarily counter-productive: Indeed diversity between scholars may present abundant opportunities for co-operative research, writing and teaching, as well as professional and public activism. However, the results of the present study indicated the kind of disciplinary flux and uncertainty for which criminology has developed something of a reputation. Do these results simply continue a tradition of professional self-absorption and ‘navel gazing’ as some commentators would claim? Perhaps so, but it seemed important to investigate the competing and complementary views among scholars that emerged from the present case study. The findings contribute hopefully to informed discussions about the current and future condition of criminology.

Kerry Wimshurst teaches Crime & Media, and Youth Justice. His research interests are in criminal justice education, and criminal justice history. He has been a member of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University, since its inception in 1991.

Citation analysis of Australian and New Zealand Criminology

T. R. McGee1*, E. G. Cohn2, Whitten, T.1, Eriksson, L.1, Farrington, D. P.3

1 Griffith University
2 Florida International University
3 University of Cambridge

*corresponding author: tr.mcgee@griffith.edu.au

There have been a number of previous investigations of the developmental of criminology in Australia and New Zealand including Manning, Stenning, & Mazerolle’s (2014) documentation of the history of the journal including its establishment and chronological list of editors. They examined 45 year trends in the authors’ gender, number of authors per paper, authors’ geographic locations, research methods used, topic of the paper, and policy focus. An earlier paper by Pratt and Priestly (1999) first focused on the first 30 years of the journal and reported information on the geographic location of the author, author gender, subject area of the article, and criminological paradigms guiding the work presented in the papers. The current research builds on this work by offering a citation analysis of the last 25 years of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology (ANZJC). There are a number of points of investigation for the current project which include: examining Australian and New Zealander authors in leading international journals (both who is published and who is cited), assessing the frequency of citations of ANZJC in the journals; identify who are the most cited authors in the ANZJC; and to find out which are the most cited works of the most cited authors.


Tara Renae McGee is a senior lecturer at Griffith University.

How criminology students see crime? From « naive representations » to « reasoned thinking » by deconstructing criminology through the lens of TV shows

 L. Grossrieder1*, S. Loup1, M. Jendly1, R. Voisard1, E. Sylvestre2

1 School of Criminal Justice, University of Lausanne
2 Teaching Support Centre, University of Lausanne

 *corresponding author: lionel.grossrieder@unil.ch

Crime generates many representations in popular culture, influenced by media, literature, arts, movies and TV shows. Criminology students presumably also carry their own representations on crime, offenders and social reactions, as well as on the discipline itself, its field of inquiry and jobs. Our presentation focuses on the evolution of representations identified by students during a semester by using crime-related TV shows. To this purpose, 68 Master students were invited to analyse and discuss sequences from 6 TV shows with the software SWITCHcast. The students had to insert text and structured annotations during viewing of videos. Their evolution was evaluated on the same set of sequences at the beginning and at the end of this period of time. Our results show that students do not initially have misrepresentations but rather unclear conceptions on the topics at stake. In addition, it appears that they have less emotional reactions at the end of the program and that their learning experience, through this particular medium, have helped them to turn some kind of « naive representations » to « reasoned thinking ». These results lead to discuss new perspectives on education in criminology, as well as popular representations on crime.


Lionel Grossrieder is a research associate and a doctoral student in the School of Criminal Justice of Lausanne, Switzerland. He received his bachelor degree in psychology in 2009 and his master degree in criminology in 2011. His research interests include crime analysis, environmental criminology and forensic intelligence. He is currently involved in an interdisciplinary project on application of computational methods in crime analysis.

Why criminologists should study theology

R. Sarre

University of South Australia, rick.sarre@unisa.edu.au

This paper develops the argument that the criminological enterprise has been well-served by cross-disciplinary endeavours. Typically, these disciplines include sociology, psychology, law, political science, history, education and cultural studies. This paper explores adding theology to the list, for theological enquiries and exposures can be very valuable for criminologists, not only in relation to questions of causality, but with respect to crime prevention and effective public responses to religiously-motivated criminal conduct and anti-social behaviours.


Rick teaches criminology at the law school of the University of South Australia.

Critical thinking in criminology: Critical reflections on learning and teaching

L. M. Howes

Criminology, School of Social Sciences, University of Tasmania, Loene.Howes@utas.edu.au

Fostering critical thinking abilities amongst students is seen as one component of preparing them to navigate uncertain and highly complex social lives and employment circumstances. In Criminology, critical thinking may best be conceptualised as drawing from critical theory to promote social justice and redress power inequities. Previous research suggests that graduates perceived the ability to think critically as a benefit of criminology degrees; however, it is less well-established how discrete units of study contribute to the development of such an ability. This paper presents the findings of a study of students’ reported thinking development. Second and third year students, drawn from Arts, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, and Law, who were completing a core unit of criminology were invited to participate. Participants wrote critical reflections on their thinking about crime and criminal justice, in terms of questioning taken-for-granted assumptions, noting shifts in their positions on key issues of crime and justice, and developing their worldviews. Analysis of responses highlighted that certain topics were particularly salient to students, offering a way to engage them in deeper thinking. Students’ critical reflections showed evidence of personally relevant meaning-making, including the development of more nuanced thinking about crime and justice, and more compassionate rationales for aspiring to careers within the field. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications for learning and teaching of critical thinking in criminology.


Loene is a lecturer in Criminology at the University of Tasmania. Her paper presents research conducted as part of her project on learning and teaching critical thinking in criminology. Formerly a languages teacher, Loene’s research focuses on the inter-professional communication in the criminal justice system.

The Australian Institute of Criminology and public sector criminological research

R. G. Smith

Australian Institute of Criminology, Russell.Smith@aic.gov.au

This chapter explores the roles and activities of public sector agencies in conducting criminological research over the preceding fifty years in Australia, focussing in particular on the history of the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC). It examines the creation and development of the AIC since its inception in 1973 to illustrate the ways in which government-funded agencies have undertaken or sponsored criminological research, how extensive and effective such research has been in providing an evidence-base for public policy, and the challenges that have emerged in ensuring that relevant, ethical and independent research has been able to be conducted that meets the needs of government and the community. The chapter concludes with some observations on the future trajectory of public sector criminological research.


Dr Russell G Smith has worked at the Australian Institute of Criminology  for over 20 years, carrying out research into fraud, cybercrime and professional regulation. With qualifications in law, psychology and criminology from the University of Melbourne and a PhD from King’s College London, he practised as a solicitor in the 1980s and then taught criminology at the University of Melbourne in the 1990s. He has been a member of ANZSOC for over 35 years and was its President between 2009 and 2012.

Doesn’t matter if you’re black or white: Othering of First Nation peoples in mainstream criminology journals

A. Deckert

School of Social Sciences and Public Policy, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, adeckert@aut.ac.nz

Canada and the United States both incarcerate Indigenous peoples at disproportionate rates. Previous studies have shown that scholarly discourse in high-ranked criminology journals has remained markedly silent about this issue, and that most published studies employed silencing research methods. Analysing the content of published research, this study reveals that most comparative studies do not classify First Nation peoples as a distinct social group. Rather, academics tend to apply the categories ‘White’, ‘Non-White’ and ‘Other’ indiscriminately; lumping First Nation peoples together with various ethnic groups and thus entirely disregarding and undermining Indigenous peoples’ political and legal uniqueness, histories, and relationship to the land. It is argued that the primarily othering discourse in mainstream criminology journals alienates Indigenous peoples and discourages contributions to criminological research both as participants and scholars. This lack of involvement generates further silence, and is used to legitimise the continued use of silencing research methods. The findings suggest that an intricate interplay of silence, silencing and othering, as observed in mainstream criminological discourse over the past decade (2001-2010), has contributed to the marginalisation of First Nation peoples, the reproduction of social inequality, and the preservation of elite power.


Senior Lecturer Criminology



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