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The National Institute for Law and Justice Education is an affiliate of the Accrediting Commission in recognition of specific needs of the profession to provide a formalized “academy” for the development of leaders who were selected with this specific goal in mind, as well as some significant failures by the justice profession to adequately prepare people for positions of leadership. Our profession is, for the most part, closely predicated upon a military model of hierarchical organization and command and control. The major difference between the justice system and the military however, is that the military recognized early on that officers possess a different set of qualities than supervisors or managers. Some of these qualities are inherent, others cultivated through experience, and still others imparted through intense training and education. Conversely, the justice profession through its practices, has been forced to select future leaders from the pool of existing supervisors and managers within the ranks, and trust that additional training will be sufficient to help them evolve into a leader. As we all recognize, this approach doesn’t always work out well.
To make matters worse, over the past ten years the criminal justice profession has witnessed an explosion of distance education programs that claim to offer quality education, but which, often fail to meet the high standards that we have prescribed for our profession. Young men and women enter these colleges and universities expecting a world class education that prepares them for a meaningful career in the criminal justice discipline, but instead they frequently discover that the instruction they received was not only out of date, but taught by faculty who have little, if any, professional experience. Additionally, many of these programs offer classes that are simply irrelevant to the career, and offered at tuition rates that are exorbitantly overpriced. Even within many of the traditional campus-based law and justice programs, we observe quite often that there is a stagnation in the educational curriculum, an inability to keep pace with the ever changing needs of the profession, and in many cases, a significant over emphasis by faculty, who again possess little or no professional experience, on the more theoretical aspects of the discipline, as opposed to providing students with an effective blend of theory and application that has relevance to the profession.

The National Institute for Law and Justice Education was founded following a lengthy research effort to identify best and worst practices used by higher education to serve the justice community, and a concomitant design effort to develop a new suite of educational products for the delivery of higher education, the Institute was converted to a formal division of ACLJE that is now in the process of forging strategic alliances with regionally accredited colleges and universities. The Institute serves as an elite academic support and delivery institution that is exclusively devoted to serving the higher education needs of the law and justice community in preparing future leaders. The Institute was created by justice professionals, for justice professions, to provide an exemplary education within the law and justice disciplines, at extremely affordable rates. The Institute incorporates both synchronous and asynchronous forms of education to create an academic environment that is not only robust in its orientation, but exceptionally informative and challenging in its content. Every class developed and distributed through the Institute consists of ten instructional units, each containing a substantive narrated lecture, weekly teleconference sessions with the professor, a subject knowledge assessment, a custom published textbook with significant weekly reading assignments, a critical thinking assignment, and a comprehensive research and writing assignment. This pedagogical approach mirrors the strategy used at some of the finest universities in the world and creates an eLearning environment that is stimulating, challenging, and able to produce graduates who possess not just an understanding, but a mastery of the subject.

The Institute’s standards for academic excellence, put simply, are some of the highest in the nation and provide an outstanding opportunity for each student in attendance to not only attain a level of subject understanding commensurate with the expectations of the professional community, but to develop a level of subject mastery that differentiates their educational achievement from those provided at other colleges and universities. The academic programs made available through affiliations between participating colleges and National Institute for Law and Justice Education offer students in attendance with an exceptional opportunity to learn from some of the most well qualified faculty in the country. The faculty serving the Institute consists of highly qualified academic scholars, career professionals, and researchers in the field, who bring to the classroom a combination of advanced degrees within their disciplines, as well as decades of professional experience and insights. To assure that the Institute provides the finest education possible, all faculty members are given the task of developing the course content for their classes, narrating each lecture personally, determining the assessments required to measure student performance, and deciding the course goals and final examination contents. The Institute’s professors don’t simply facilitate the delivery of classes; instead they are actively involved in every step of the development and delivery of the classes they teach. This approach assures that students receive the best education possible, provided by the most qualified faculty available.

Because the Institute is largely comprised of practitioners who are affiliated with a variety of law enforcement and other government agencies, each of whom has made a significant commitment to producing quality educational products for consumption by the profession; it is operated as an NGO that supports colleges and universities engaged in the delivery of higher education. This strategy assures that the Institute remains uninfluenced by politics, is receptive to the needs of the profession, and is able to remain prepared to meet the current and future needs of the profession. The Institute was specifically designed to be responsive to the needs of the profession and to provide exemplary education that furthers the professionalism of the law and justice community.

The National Institute for Law and Justice Education was designed as a comprehensive higher education service organization that supports the requirements of law and justice professionals throughout their professional career. The Institute seeks to assure that each student receives an exemplary education that not only serves to advance their mastery of the law and justice disciplines, but which also provides a substantive foundation to enhance their professional competency, and prepare them to take their place as a leader in the law and justice professions. Included within the degree offerings provided through the Institute and its affiliated college and university partners are undergraduate degrees in law and criminal justice, as well as masters and doctorate degrees in these disciplines. The graduate degrees offer a wide variety of specializations including such areas as justice administration, crime analysis, corrections management, judicial studies, justice systems management, police training, military law enforcement, national security, police and prison chaplaincy, law enforcement field operations, and securities and exchange enforcement.

The quest for knowledge and the delivery of exceptional instruction rests at the core of the academic strategy at the Institute. The Institute combines the very best teaching and learning practices from both traditional colleges and universities, and distance education institutions, to produce a learning environment that is intellectually stimulating and academically challenging. The Institute is devoted to providing the very best education possible, at an affordable price, and is committed to assuring that each and every graduate is adequately prepared to make a significant contribution to the law and justice professions.

Further information about the National Institute for Law and Justice Education is available by visiting the website at www.nilj.org.
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