Scottish students studying American criminal justice system at Washburn

Scottish students in the classroomWashburn University is hosting a dozen students from the University of the West of Scotland for the next two weeks in an exchange focused on the American criminal justice system.

The students, all studying policing at their home university in Hamilton, Scotland, are part of a long-standing collaboration between the two universities. While here, the students are learning alongside a handful of Washburn students. They spend the morning in lecture and are touring a variety of sites in the afternoons.

The students will visit the Shawnee County Law Enforcement Center and coroner’s office, the Topeka Correctional Facility, state courts, the Kansas Capitol and the Shawnee County Jail.

Gary Bayens, professor and chairman of the Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies, said that in addition to first-hand opportunities to understand the differences and similarities between the American justice system and that in the UK, the “goal of broadening our commitment to student abroad opportunities with the University of the West of Scotland is to provide even more diverse, multicultural and meaningful educational experiences for our students.”

Washburn’s criminal justice program began its partnership with the Center for Criminal Justice and Police Studies at the University of the West of Scotland in 2006. Since then, Bayens said, more than 75 Washburn students have traveled to Scotland. Many of them completed Washburn’s unique International Transformational Experience as a result. In that time, more than 60 Scottish students have visited Washburn.

Several members of Washburn’s criminal justice faculty will teach during the next two weeks about their specific areas of interest and passion.

Bayens told the students as they gathered in the classroom for the first time Monday: “We have some of the most top-notch faculty in any criminal justice program throughout the United States.” They’ll visit with book authors, published researchers and noted practitioners, he explained.

Harrison Watts, associate professor of law enforcement and security, organized much of the program. He also was responsible for providing a basic grounding in the American governmental system, on which the students will build for the two weeks they’re here.

The Scottish students and Peter Sproat, their faculty leader and a lecturer in policing at UWS, are staying on the Washburn campus.