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In order to gain a clear concept of what a criminal justice degree entails, I plan on

becoming extremely familiarized with the information regarding the Criminal Justice BA
program found on the University of Texas at El Paso's website. The first document I plan
to focus on is the course requirements or syllabus for students planning on graduating
with a BA in Criminal Justice. This information is extremely important in that it will
allow me to take only the courses necessary as well as helping me to avoid taking classes
that are useless to this program. The CJ syllabus is an excellent source in allowing me to
plan ahead by receiving an overview of my future. This specific document is the fine
print of what is REQUIRED. Without the completion of all the courses listed, my BA in
criminal justice will not be obtained. The way in which this document is organized is
similar to a map. Courses are in an almost checklist form, allowing students to visually
see plan the next required course and then check it off. This feature simplifies the process
and visually represents progression. Rhetorically, this proves that this specific learning
community is more interested in the success of students rather than discouraging
outsiders of the community. The criminal justice syllabus not only functions as a guide or
map but it is also a representation of how in reach success is when it is followed.
Next, the Facebook website constructed by the criminal justice department
includes the purpose or mission of the college. As stated on this website, the CJ
program's "...Purpose is to help develop student skills through theory, critical thinking,
research findings examination, and writing in order to better understand and perform in a
criminal justice career". This serves as a statement of reassurance that will hopefully gain
the interest of students by giving a sense of hope that a criminal justice career is
obtainable. The site goes on to state, "We are expanding our contacts with the many
criminal justice agencies in the surrounding venues to provide productive opportunities
for interns to gain practical experience through working at an agency." Again, this is the
ultimate goal of many CJ majors such as myself, and it is encouraging to know that
internships are directly connected to the program, providing an in to this discourse
community. Internships allow students to network before graduation. This is crucial in
getting ahead and having a position reserved immediately graduation. The intention of
this document is to promote the program by assuring a future after the degree is obtained.
Rather than continuing through the program with uncertainty about the future, the CJs
Facebook gives encouragement regarding life after college. This community seems
welcoming to any students with interest in the field considering the simple rhetoric
presented in the mission statement, followed by a sense of security in helping to provide
the student with a career.

Another document I plan to utilize is an actual interview found on the UTEPs
Criminal Justice website. Peggy Banales is being interviewed as the first female graduate
from UTEPs CJ program in 1974. This interview is helpful in my research as I strive to
learn gender barriers within this discipline. Although her interview did not focus too
deeply on her experiences as a woman in this discipline, I feel that the interview being
present on this website speaks multitudes. The interview itself does not provide a great
amount of information that I was hoping to receive, however the CJ program made it a
point to include a womans achievements and success after graduation. I am positive that
this interview is not an absolute dismissal of gender inequality in the CJ program
however, it displays the value that the program has placed on women in a forty year time
span. Obviously from this interview, it is clear that women do have a prominent place in
this field, at least according to the University of Texas at El Paso.