The Pracademic and Academic in Criminal Justice Education: A Qualitative Analysis

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Police Forum

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Over the past several years, a few hundred colleagues involved in criminal justice education have participated in panel discussions and roundtables to discuss the trials and issues that have been observed by practitioners turned academics, or “pracademics.” Some complained of having difficulty breaking into academia. A debate has occurred in a number of colleges and universities over the benefit of having faculty with traditional academic credentials versus hiring non-traditional scholars with a blend of educational and practical experience. Similarly, there have been lively discussions over the appropriateness of a J.D. or professional doctorate as opposed to a Ph.D. in criminal justice. This debate started in an article in ACJS Today (2002) and continued in subsequent publications It is believed that there is importance, benefit and relevance to incorporating practical experience on college and university campuses. In academic program after program, internships, externships, observation, and practicums have become essential in preparing students for the real world.