Criminal Justice Program Recognized as “Program of the Year” by International Association


The University’s Criminal Justice Program received the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) Program-of-the-Year Award on March 18.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Mark Buckwalter and Criminal Justice Club President Aaliyah Moore accepted the award at a ceremony at the National Harbor in Washington, D.C.

Established in 1963, the ACJS is one of the oldest and most respected international criminal justice associations in the world. The ACJS Program-of-the-Year Award is presented to a school committed to community engagement and volunteer work.

The SFU Criminal Justice Program was also recognized by the ACJS for its increased enrollment and innovative instructional approaches.

“This award recognizes all of the work and dedication of the SFU Criminal Justice Club,” said Buckwalter.

“These students are the future leaders of our CJ System in the United States and that should be important to all of us. We are so excited to win the ACJS national award.”

SFU’s Criminal Justice Club has organized multiple activities over the past year, both on campus and in the surrounding community.

The club conducted a seminar in policing with the Deaf Community and a K-9 Dog Demonstration in the 2022-23 academic year.

The group also hosted a First Responder’s Day on campus last October. First responders who participated in this event included members of volunteer fire departments in Cresson and Loretto, as well as representatives from area EMS, police agencies, the Pennsylvania State Police and the state’s Attorney General’s Office.

In addition to accepting the award at the ACJS event earlier this month, Buckwalter, Moore and Associate Professor of Business Administration Kent Tonkin delivered a presentation on an ongoing community outreach project.

Through the Shields School of Business’ UWork Program, members of the Criminal Justice Club and other SSOB students have worked together to provide re-entry training to inmates at the federal correctional institute in Loretto.

Students involved in this initiative have taught courses to inmates on financial literacy, cover letter and resume preparation, small business development, technology and communications.

Saint Francis one of the only schools in the country with a volunteer group of students working together to assist individuals in the reentry process at a federal correctional facility.

“I believe the award shows how much effort and energy that we put into our club,” said Moore.

“To be able to do all of the things that we have in the last year at a small school is a lot of work. It feels good to be recognized for all the work that we put into the club.”

The Criminal Justice Program will host a “Building Bridges” Lunch and Learn event with the Pennsylvania State Police on April 4.

Criminal Justice students will also visit the White House and the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C., in April.