Criminology in the ProfessionsFrequently asked questions and student comments:The job I want to do in future is not covered by thepractitioner lectures on the module.Answer: Clearly it would be impossible to cover every careerthat every single student is interested in on this module.However the university careers service is constantly invitingpractitioners onto campus, so it is important that you join thecareers/opportunities community on Blackboard which willalert you to these. Having said this, all organisations whorecruit graduates look for some of the same types ofcompetences and skills from their employees, so you canlearn a lot from any of the practitioners invited in to speak toyou, even if you are not interested in working in their area.Why can’t we do work placements instead of the seminars?Answer: Work placements have a number of problems. It isparticularly difficult to organise large numbers of placementsthat give equality of opportunity to everyone and are of equalvalue, which is significant when you are being assessed onthe work for your degree. Instead we prefer to give allstudents as similar an experience as possible by keeping themodule teaching and learning within the universitycurriculum. There are considerable opportunities however toundertake work experience, voluntary placements and jointhe employer mentoring scheme, external to the curriculum,so look out for emails and announcements on Blackboard forthese and make sure you join the careers/opportunitiescommunity so that you get regular updates.What has this module to do with criminology?Answer: All academic university degrees are expected toequip graduates with transferable skills within the context ofthe subject matter of the course. This module provides a linkbetween the academic study of criminology and appropriategraduate skills. You are therefore required to explore
Criminology in the Professionsprofessional opportunities, recruitment and selectionmethods of organisations related to criminological study andcome to an understanding about how theoretical, politicaland practical reflection is useful in your personalprofessional development. Ultimately ‘Crime’ is defined andpoliced by professionals. Understanding the way thatprofessionals within the CJS and beyond, work, how they areaffected by organisational cultures as well as national andlocal politics is fundamental in you understandingbothcriminology as a discipline, and the crime industry as apotential workplace. The reflection required in this moduleshould not only help you plan for the future, but should alsohelp you understand more about how practitioners andorganisations affect the criminological project.The career plan appears far too basic and pointlessAnswer: If you are thinking this way, you perhaps are notdoing the work correctly. The career plan is a proper‘informed’ piece of academic work and means that you mustuse external sources to inform your discussions. Tutorsexpect to see a reasonable bibliography that specificallyrelates to your work; otherwise you will be in danger offailing this assignment. It is acceptable that many of thesources are likely to be from the internet, but you do need tomake sure that you believe them to be valid. We also expectto see reference to theoretical underpinnings with the bestplans reflecting on things like career anchors, DOT’Sanalysis, managerialism, organisational culture, as well asthe political context of any profession. These things are allvery relevant, because all careers, courses, training andother potential plans are directly affected by the socio-economic and political context of the country. Knowing thismeans that you can be realistic about how to achieve whatyou want, and what you are going to have to do to realiseyour ambitions.
Criminology in the ProfessionsCareer planning should not be marked as not all students areinterested in practitioner rolesIf you haven’t got a clue what to do, don’t want to go into a‘criminological job’, want to travel, volunteer or even startyour own business, it is just as important to plan your future.So called ‘gap years’ are best when they have been plannedeffectively and there are lots of organisations offering helpwith this type of experience, but you need to be careful aboutwhich are genuine and offer you good (safe) placements,advice and support etc. Not knowing what to do is verycommon, in fact around a quarter of last years students,didn’t know what they wanted to do. It helps however if youknow where you can get information or help from, or whatsort of things are actually out there. Even coming to someconclusions about what you don’t want to do is a valuablelesson learnt! Post graduate study is a good option for somepeople, but you will need to identify both what courses youmight be interested in and how you might finance this. Somecourses expect you to have particular competences orgrades, and most will have deadlines for applications. Even ifyou just want to go and do ‘any job’ to get some moneytogether whilst you think about the future, planning this canmake the difference between obtaining work or not given thecurrent political circumstances. You will often find that the‘any job’ type of job has management potential for those whowant it, but it’s about knowing what is available on anyparticular organisation. Whilst a small number of studentsdon’t think that doing a career plan should be part of thecourse or marked, our research suggests that once they getinto it, the vast majority of students value the chance to havetime within the curriculum to reflect on their future.10% for participation attendance and the presentations is notenough.Answer: Whilst 10% seems a small proportion of the marks,because you can score 100% for this section it can make asignificant difference to your marks. A large number ofstudents last year gained a full class on their written workspecifically due to scoring 100% on their participation mark.
Criminology in the ProfessionsThis resulted in adding an extra 10 marks to the grade thatthey gained for the written work; therefore the attendancemark is very valuable.I do not see the point in leading seminars as I have nointerest in teaching, and staff are paid to teach us.Answer: When you attend university, it is expected that youwill not only gain subject knowledge, but that you will alsogain experiences and skills that are transferable to lifebeyond university. The skills involved in leading seminarshave application beyond teaching to other graduate types ofjobs that involve anything from presentation skills to runninga successful meeting. The teaching methods at university arevery different to those in school. If staff taught youeverything that you needed to know, you would not developthe ability to learn for yourself which is a fundamentalgraduate skill. Criminology is an academic degree whichmeans that we do not teach you the skills to do a specific job.The whole degree course is about providing you withopportunities to develop and enhance your knowledge aboutthe discipline but also to encourage you to developtransferable skills that are valued by employers. Theemphasis is on you personally developing the intellectualtools which you can transfer to other situations, rather thanstaff teaching these to you. Employers expect graduates tohave a number of transferable skills including goodpresentation skills, be self starters, have the ability toresearch and critically solve problems as well as the abilityto put together analytical and informed arguments. This andother modules on your course use the disciplinaryknowledge within criminology to help you develop skills,which will be valuable to your future whatever you decide todo.So… your career plan should reflect what you really want todo after university looking at…Where am I now could include a reflection on your currentskills base, including analysing the skills and competencesthat you are gaining from your degree, other educationexperiences of note as well as work experience,
Criminology in the Professionsvolunteering, and other skills/interests etc. Useful sourcescould be module and degree descriptors from the universitysites, internet sites or other discourses for any organisationthat you have worked or volunteered for; the University ofLincoln careers site; sports and recreation sites etc.The where do I want to be could look at jobs, post gradeducation, volunteering, travelling, starting a business,training, or even, where you might get inspiration orinformation about what might be available if you haven’t aclue. Use could be made of reflective techniques such as‘career anchors’ or a DOTS analysis which might help youcome to some conclusions about what you are interested indoing. You should make a career planning interview with ourcareers professionals and get them to help you do this, andyou might want to look at both long and short term plans. Themain issue here is to look at what there is out there, thinkabout what might appeal to you and what these opportunitiesrequire in terms of competences. Useful sources wouldinclude websites from specific organisations, professionsand educational institutes; academic sources on specificorganisations, or services eg Police, Prisons, education,public sector; academic sources on theoretical, socio-economic and political issues such as organisationalcultures, managerialism, performance indicators;conservativism, neo-liberalism, government policy etc;career planning tools such as ‘career anchors’ etc.The How do I get there is about matching the skills that youhave identified to the plans that you are developing. In thissection you will be expected to both identify whatcompetences and experiences you have that theorganisations you are interested in require, and if you donthave the required skills and competences, how are going todevelop these. Useful sources again would be a mix of thosestated in the first two sections.