Message from the Chair

Author: Department of Criminal Justice Studies
August 23, 2023

Hi CJS students!

Welcome to the Fall 2023 semester! I hope this message finds you well, excited about this semester's courses, and surviving the abnormally muggy heat that has descended upon the bay.

I'm Professor Liz Brown, chair of the Criminal Justice Studies department and I'm writing to let you know about a few upcoming events and to give you a heads-up about some events and dates to watch. I am hoping to do this every couple of weeks, so be sure to check your inboxes periodically to find out what is happening in the CJS department. And if you have any questions, concerns, or just want a department touch base—please reach out and get in touch with me: And if you have anything to share with your student colleagues, please also let me know so I can include it in upcoming editions of this newsletter. 

Upcoming events

First off, I wanted to let you all know about some upcoming events that we'd love for you to be at, both in the department and at the university more broadly (we plan to have more this semester, so please stay tuned!). 

  • New student welcome: Tuesday, September 12, 4-5:30pm—LIB 121; If you are new to the department, come meet some of the departmental faculty, have some refreshments and learn about the major and how to get involved. 
  • Student-faculty mixer: Wednesday, October 18, 5-7pm—LIB 121; Ever wonder what your professors are like outside of the classroom? If so, come to an informal student-faculty mixer, have some pizza and drinks, find out how to get more involved in the major, and get to know your professors and how they got into the work they do. 
  • Upcoming events, TBD: 
  • Department movie night—come watch films and discuss with your colleagues in the department
  • FBI speaker series: do you want work with the FBI? The department is creating a speaker series with agents from the FBI so you can learn more about their work and how you can gain employment there after you graduate. 
  • Criminal Justice Student Association (CJSA): We are looking to relaunch CJSA, so be on the lookout for notice of the first meeting. Professor George Barganier will serve as faculty advisor, so if you are interested in getting involved, please reach out to him at

In addition to departmental events, there are also some upcoming events at the university that you may be interested in: 

  • Legal Resource Center Open House: Monday, August 28th, from 12 - 1 PM. LRC will be providing information about the services/resources the LRC offers along with pizza. This is an ASI event.  

We'll be sending out additional reminders about these events as they get closer, so please stay tuned to your sfsu email. 

New minors

Second, I wanted to let you all know about two new minors that we have in our department. As many of you have found out, the CJS major is a lower-unit major, and thus, we frequently recommend that you pick up a minor. You can now do so right here in our department! We have two new minors that begin this fall and that will be relevant to your CJS education:

  • Minor in Prison Reentry Studies: This minor is sponsored by Project Rebound on campus and focuses on the transition out of incarceration and provides students with knowledge about this issue as well as opportunities to work in this area of the field. This minor is perfect for any students wanting to work with people who have been incarcerated or in this policy area. 
  • Minor in Juvenile Justice: This minor is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on understanding youth behavior, the juvenile justice system, and places a special emphasis on understanding the myriad reforms in the system. This minor is perfect for any students who want to work with youth who may experience system involvement. 

To declare either of these minors, you can do so through your student center by following the instructions at the registrar

New Student Journal

Third, under the guidance of faculty mentor Professor Albert de la Tierra (Professor Lobo), students were able to launch their first issue of a new student journal last semester, The Annual Review of Criminal Justice Studies. Grace Ann Cowherd, Serena Raquel Gomez, and Claudia Lomeli-Rodriguez led the editorial board for this first (and absolutely stupendous!) issue, which featured articles from thirteen of your colleagues here at SFSU: Ximena Nieves, Lucien Tomlinson, Gabrial A. Camacho, Eszter Winkelmayer, Maria Gonzalez, Paola Saavedra Ramirez, Mario Alvarez Chavez, Estafany Romero, Isaac Hoffman, Grace A. Cowherd, Claudia Lomeli-Rodriguez, Heighly A. Hernandez, and Eduardo Hernandez. All of these students edited and revised papers that were first developed in their courses, so if you have a project that you are excited about, consider trying to get it published in the review. We will be uploading the first issue to our website shortly and will send out a notification when we do so. Until then, please check it out!

This year, we welcome the first editor-in-chief of the journal—Claudia Lomeli-Rodriguez. Under Lomeli-Rodriguez's guidance, we will be seeking your submissions over the course of the year. If you have any questions or want to get further involved, please don't hesitate to reach out at


Fourth, you may have heard that there have been some changes to advising at the university. Students no longer need to visit faculty advisors for course planning in the major, and now, you can visit the Undergraduate Advising Center for assistance with all your course planning needs. Faculty advisors are still available for help with course substitutions, career planning, and other needs related to the major, but if you just want to know what you need to graduate, what courses you should take, or how you are doing with your requirements, you can visit the UAC which has drop in hours, appointments, and both virtual and in-person options. Of course, I still love hearing from you all, so if you have any questions whatsoever, or any difficulty getting in touch with the UAC advisors, please don't hesitate to reach out to me (Prof. Liz Brown) at

In addition to the new advising structure, I wanted to provide some helpful hints to the CJS major: 

  • CJ 200 and CJ 230 are required for most majors; if it is not required for the bulletin year you are on (pre Fall 2021), you can take these courses and they will count as electives. They provide necessary content and skill building for 300 and 330, so if you can, it's a great idea for all students to have these courses. 
  • CJ 330 GW cannot be taken in the same semester as CJ 680, so be sure to plan ahead and take 330 at least one semester before your graduating semester
  • CJ 680 is meant to be taken in your senior year, as one of your last courses. It helps tremendously (and is required to be taken after 90 units) to wait until your second to last or last semester to take this course as you will have the entirety of your major knowledge and expertise to draw upon
  • Are you looking for additional units in non-traditional courses? CJ 685 and 699 allow students to earn up to 4 units each, which can count towards the 120 unit requirement to graduate. CJ 685 allows students to serve as teaching assistants for instructors; if you did well in a course (normally an "A" grade), please contact your instructor if you are interested in this option. CJ 699 is independent study and allows students to pursue a project on a topic of their choice related to Criminal Justice. If you are interested in signing up for this course, please contact me, Prof. Liz Brown, at
  • Many courses have "notes" that indicate what days/times the course meets if it's hybrid or if there are any other specialized meeting patterns (such as the 680 "ARR" in the class schedule). Be sure to click on the class in the class schedule and read the "class notes" section for all your courses

Internship and employment opportunities

Finally, here are some employment and internship opportunities that have been sent our way. We send these out as they come available, so you may have already seen some of these:

  • East Bay Regional Parks District is looking for Police Student Aids; this is a paid position, so if you are interested in working with the park system in a law enforcement capacity, I encourage you to check this out.
  • EVOLVE California is looking for interns to focus on their upcoming campaigns related to increasing education funding and ending corporate property tax breaks.
  • Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) is looking for student interns. FLY works with youth ages 14-18 in the juvenile justice system and those at risk of entering the system. FLY’s unique programs include legal education, leadership training, and one-on-one mentoring. Opportunities include the Law Program Volunteer Facilitator who serve as positive adult role models and mentors that help youth learn about the law and their rights.

Thanks in advance for all who are still reading! I am looking forward to meeting many of you at our upcoming events, and hope that you will all stop by my office, HSS 356, to say hello if you are on campus. I think this is the start of a great year and look forward to working with all of you to make sure that the department is supporting your success. Working with students is the absolute best part of my job, so if there is any way I can support you, please do not hesitate to reach out. 



Professor and Chair, Department of Criminal Justice Studies 

San Francisco State University