Cal U Welcomes Fifth D.C.J. Cohort

May 24, 2021

The new class is challenged to be 'change agents' as members begin their studies.

dcj cohort

Dr. John Cencich welcomes the fifth Doctor of Criminal Justice class to Cal U.

Fourteen students met virtually on May 24 as Cal U welcomed the fifth cohort in its Doctor of Criminal Justice program to a summer residency program that marks the beginning of their studies. 

“We are pleased to welcome a diverse group of students to the program,” said interim University President Robert Thorn. “I’m confident you’ll do well and serve as the change agents that our community and country need. Some of our toughest challenges lie in the field of criminal justice, and you all can work toward meaningful solutions.” 

The program, which welcomed its first class in 2017, is constantly evolving, said Dr. John Cencich, director of the criminal justice graduate programs at Cal U. 

“The program is all about doing things better,” he said. “We want our graduates to be equipped to make the criminal justice system better, and to balance all of that with public safety.” 

Scott Schubert, chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, as he has each year, spoke to the incoming class. 

“Don’t forget why you got into this profession,” he said. “We have to be part of our communities and work together to get things done in the best way.” 

Other speakers at the program’s opening session were Dr. Daniel Engstrom, interim provost; Dr. Yugo Ikach, dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research; Dr. Kristen Majocha, dean of the College of Education and Liberal Arts. 

“I hope this program rocks your world and moves you in a different leadership trajectory than you could have imagined,” Engstrom said. “My original goal was to teach woodshop, and I never did that a day in my life. I attribute that to individuals I met along the way who pushed me, challenged me, led me, and you’ll find this cohort will do the same for you.” 

The residency for the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Cal U continues through May 28. 

About the Doctor of Criminal Justice 

The 42-credit doctoral program in criminal justice focuses on professional development and practical approaches to major criminal justice issues. After passing a comprehensive exam, candidates develop a doctoral research portfolio based on theory and applied research relevant to their careers. 

It is  first regionally accredited D.C.J. degree program in the United States and addresses the need for top criminal justice practitioners to respond to current issues and policy changes. 

The summer residency is the only on-campus requirement for the online Doctor of Criminal Justice program. It was held virtually last year and this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.