Criminal Justice

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“The mission of the Criminal Justice program at Mary Baldwin University is to produce graduates who utilize critical thinking skills to better understand and analyze crime and the criminal justice system by focusing on the social, cultural and political dimensions of these systems in the United States and the World.  The continually changing nature of crime requires an understanding of societal changes that affect the practice of criminal justice.  Our curriculum includes both academic and applied coursework with opportunities for practical application of classroom concepts.”

With over 55,000 agencies in the United States that are part of the Criminal Justice System, the need for qualified, educated practitioners is greater than ever.  The well-prepared professional should be knowledgeable and skilled in every component of, and the issues that influence, the Criminal Justice System in order to effectively address the public’s demand for protection and services.  Most Federal agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service require a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree to be considered for employment.  Most local agencies require advanced college degrees to be considered for promotion.  To be competitive, most public safety executives have post graduate degrees.


Mary Baldwin University offers a strong concentration of courses in the Liberal Arts providing the student with a unique knowledge of society and how the influences of social, economic, and cultural differences have an effect on the Criminal Justice System.  Academic majors and minors in the Criminal Justice Program are encouraged to be critical thinkers and explore and analyze issues with a solid theoretical foundation and scientific research methods.  As part of the College of Business and Professional Studies, students graduate with strong theoretical and applied skills while being involved in a multitude of professional development activities.  The program is available fully online through Baldwin Online and Adult Programs

Courses in Social Systems, Public Policy and Administration, Ethics, with emphasis in Anthropology, Criminology, Comparative Criminal Justice Systems  and Deviance are complimented by instruction in the application of professional services.  Skills learned in these courses enable students to critically analyze the complex factors generating crime, the societal issues associated with crime, and the institutional responses to crime.  Graduates identify historical trends in these “factors”, “issues” and “responses” so that in their future careers they are better able to identify problems as they emerge and to more effectively create new and innovative solutions.

Students who excel academically are eligible for induction into Nu Sigma, Mary Baldwin’s chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society.

Complete your criminal justice degree online.


Coursework for our criminal justice degree can be completed fully online through the university’s innovative Baldwin Online and Adult Programs. Just like in-person classes, the Blackboard-interface program emphasizes the development of strong conceptual skills in tandem with practical applications. MBU helps you fast-track your path to a criminal justice degree with the opportunity to transfer up to 27 credits (9 courses) through direct course equivalents from the Virginia Community Colleges System as well as the ability to earn up to 6 credits for work experience.

Faculty with more than 60 years of experience in law enforcement as well as in those who are leaders in academic research prepare students for careers, graduate school, and beyond.

Designed to equip students with hands-on career preparation, the criminal justice major requires an internship in addition to online coursework.

Criminal justice is also available as a minor.

Why study criminal justice at Mary Baldwin University?


What you learn as a student of Criminal Justice:

  • About crime: the social creation of crime and the social responses to crime in diverse societies and cultures.
  • Analysis and methodology of crime, it’s causes and effects.
  • About the criminal justice system and judicial processes: the functions of police, courts, lawyers, jails, bail, and prisons; constitutional law.
  • About the challenges communities face: terrorism, drugs, and social inequality.
  • About “how to”: police procedure, crime scene investigation, forensics, corrections, mediation, and judicial procedures.
  • About yourself: personal awareness, confidence, empathy; your ability to make a difference in the lives of others.

Our partners in the community: Experience matters. In Mary Baldwin’s Criminal Justice Program our community partners provide the hands-on experience you need. Options include

  • Staunton Police Department
  • Waynesboro Police Department
  • Augusta County Sheriff’s Department
  • Office on Youth
  • Middle River Regional Jail
  • SAW Coalition
  • Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Detention Center
  • Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice

These are just a few of the organizations that are available to help you learn through direct on-the-job experience.

Careers and Connections. Recent graduates from Mary Baldwin University are currently working as lawyers, police officers, and social workers. They are employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security and all branches of the military. We will gladly put you in contact with alumnae in the criminal justice field.


Chief (Ret.) Douglas L. Davis

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice; Co-Director of Criminal Justice Program; BA, Saint Leo College, MS, Virginia Commonwealth University

Chistonehenge2ef (Ret) Doug Davis started his career with the Williamsburg, Virginia Police Department in 1977.  While with Williamsburg, Chief Davis served as a Police Officer, Investigator, Lieutenant, Major of the Uniform Division and Major of Support Services.  The Chief’s responsibilities included general patrol duties; investigation of all types of crimes from bad checks to double homicide; managing a patrol shift and teaching at the academy; managing the uniform division to include scheduling, special assignments, special events, policy development, dignitary protection and training; managing the 911 Center, technology and strategic planning.  While with Williamsburg Chief Davis graduated from the 198th Session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

In 2003, Chief Davis was appointed as the Chief of Police for the City of Waynesboro, Virginia where he was responsible for all aspects of policing. While with Waynesboro, Chief Davis discovered his love of teaching as an Adjunct Professor for Blue Ridge Community College.  As the Chairman of the Comprehensive Gang Model Program, for Staunton, Augusta and Waynesboro, a relationship was developed with Mary Baldwin when the Sociology Department was contracted to do statistical analysis of the Program’s surveys.  That relationship developed into a full time faculty position after his retirement in 2011.

Chief Davis is Past President of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police; Past Chairman of the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation; President of the Virginia Association of Criminal Educators; Past President of the Central Shenandoah Association of Chiefs of Police.  Chief Davis has served on many local, state and federal law enforcement committees throughout his career and is a member of numerous professional associations including a Lifetime Membership with the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Chief Davis holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from Saint Leo’s College and a Masters in Justice and Risk Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Chief Davis is also a graduate of the Professional Executive Leadership School sponsored by the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation at the University of Richmond and the Leading, Educating and Developing Program with the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.

Chief Davis is married to his high school sweetheart and they have 3 successful children and 5 grandchildren.  He enjoys woodworking, home improvement, reading, music, hunting, camping, photography, flying model aircraft, traveling, his Beagle Emma and recently, skydiving.

Dr. Beth Easterling

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Sociology; Co-Director of Criminal Justice Program; BA, Roanoke College; MS, University of North Florida; PhD, University of Tennessee

Co-Director of the Criminal Justice ProgBethEasterlingram, Beth Easterling holds a Ph.D. in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology from the University of Tennessee, M.S. in Applied Sociology from the University of North Florida, and a B.A. in Economics from Roanoke College.  Her areas of interest include families and crime/incarceration, punishment and society, and social stratification.  With a background in applied sociology, she searches for practical, policy, and programming implications in her academic research and uses those examples to bring the classroom to life.  Dr. Easterling loves teaching in a liberal arts environment!  She enjoys teaching introductory level courses as they provide the opportunity to introduce students from a variety of disciplines, backgrounds, and interests to sociology, criminology, and criminal justice.  She enjoys teaching upper level courses to criminal justice majors as these courses allow her to discuss specific sociological and criminological topics in depth with criminologists and criminal justice practitioners-to-be.  Dr. Easterling serves as the faculty advisor for Nu Sigma, the Mary Baldwin Chapter of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society.

When not doing research or teaching, Dr. Easterling enjoys running and spending time with her daughter, her husband (who she has followed all over the east coast and beyond thanks to his career in the Marine Corps), and her two rescue dogs.

Alpha Phi Sigma

Eight Mary Baldwin University students have become members of the college’s newest honor society Alpha Phi Sigma, which recognizes excellence in criminal justice.

Criminal justice advisor Douglas Davis, who is also a member of the honor society, welcomed the new students – KaWanda Temple, Anna Hurt, Krystal Jones, Leo Hanlon, Charity Martin, Evenlyn Foster, Raven Jackson, and Katherine Epifanio – into the Nu Sigma chapter in a ceremony April 10 in Miller Chapel.“I am very proud,” Davis said. “The honor society was chartered one year before the degree was even voted on and it is a compliment to students, especially the new chapter president, KaWanda Temple.”

To gain membership in Alpha Phi Sigma, criminal justice majors or minors must have completed three full semesters or its equivalent, have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.2, a 3.2 GPA in criminal justice courses, and be ranked in the top 35 percent of their class. A minimum of four courses are required in the criminal justice field.

“It has definitely been a long road,” said Temple. “Now I am starting to see my hard work paying off. I learned to never give up on anything. Without Chief Davis none of this would be possible.”

During the induction ceremony, Davis lit­ four candles, which represents the honor society’s four ideals: academic excellence, unity, leadership, and service.

Each inducted member received a key emblazoned with the scales of justice, the shield of honor, and the columns of learning. The honor society has two significant colors: blue, for criminal justice, and gold, which represents scholarship.

“It is definitely an honor to be one of the first inductees of Alpha Phi Sigma at Mary Baldwin,” said Jones, a junior. “I have made a lifelong pledge to serve my community, protect those around me, and make a positive change in the lives that I encounter along the way. I am excited to devote my life to the business of change.”

Contact Information


James Williams

Adjunct Faculty Member; BS, MS, Virginia Commonwealth University
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Carey L. Usher

Associate Professor of Sociology, Associate Dean of the College and Faculty Director of the...
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Daniel M. Stuhlsatz

Professor of Sociology; BA, Wichita State University; MA, University of Wyoming; PhD, University...
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Robert Robinson

Assistant Professor of Sociology; AS, Piedmont Virginia Community College; BS, Longwood College;...
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Beth Easterling

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Sociology; Co-Director of Criminal Justice Program;...
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Douglas L. Davis

Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Criminal Justice Program; AAS, Thomas Nelson Community...
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