COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A first-of-its-kind criminology graduate program that started in Vietnam 16 months ago has now moved to the University of Maryland for six weeks of study. The groundbreaking partnership between UMD and Vietnam's People's Police Academy in Hanoi began in April, 2011 when 38 police officers became the first cohort to enter the master of professional studies program in justice leadership.
Three of the courses were taught in Vietnam by Vietnamese instructors and the rest were taught there by Maryland faculty from the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences as well as the School of Public Policy. Subjects included criminal procedure law, comparative international law and policy analysis.
"Teaching in Vietnam was a great experience," said Criminology & Criminal Justice Professor Gary LaFree. "The students were energetic and eager to learn and it was fascinating to be exposed to the history, culture and natural beauty of Vietnam."
The program fits perfectly into the strategic goals of the University of Maryland - which emphasizes internationalization and globalization. Graduate School Dean Charles Caramello said that in this case, the program is doing both - internationalizing the student body and globalizing education.
"These officers have really sacrificed to be part of this program, said Assistant Dean of the Graduate School and Chief of Staff Cynthia Hale. "Many of them left their families for extended periods of time and had to travel great distances."
While in College Park, the officers will complete a six week capstone course before returning to Vietnam to graduate.
The students will play critical roles in assisting with justice and judicial reform within the Vietnamese Government and its police training academies as well as the various law enforcement branches that exist throughout the nation.
Both Hale and Caramello said this program is one more indication of the leadership Maryland is showing by extending its expertise around the world. The new Justice Leadership program is a program for the future.
Thirty-eight officers from the People's Police Academy in Hanoi show off their Terrapin pride on May 3. They're the first cohort of a master of professional studies program in justice leadership, taught in part by faculty from the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the School of Public Policy. The students will be on campus for six weeks before heading home to assist in the Vietnamese government's judicial reform efforts.