A virtual event held April 21 celebrated the tenth anniversary of Conestoga’s Bachelor of Community and Criminal Justice (BCCJ) program. Attended by alumni, Program Advisory Committee (PAC) members, community partners, students, current and former faculty and members of the Conestoga community, the event also highlighted this year’s student capstone research projects and student accomplishments.
“This is a very special day for us. On behalf of the School, I want to congratulate the CCJ team and all of you on ten wonderful years. It’s quite a milestone,” said Goranka Vukelich, executive dean, School of Community Services. “Over the ten years the degree has evolved and matured and we’re proud of the high standards that it represents here at Conestoga. We are also grateful to our community partners for bringing this degree to the high standard that it represents.”
Christiane Sadeler, former executive director of the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council, delivered a keynote address from British Columbia. Sadeler helped support development of the BCCJ program and served as one of its longest-standing PAC members.
“How do we create this new cohort of professionals that embrace prevention, that understand the need for the change to status quo and have the capacity to work across silos? That’s how it started as a dream and here you are after 10 years having very successfully done a program that is singular to none, to the best of my knowledge, in the country,” said Sadeler.
“When a few of us, all those years ago, dreamt about this program, we could not imagine what is has become and that credit is due to all of you - faculty as well as students. I celebrate this with you and I’m really appreciative that you had me along for the journey.”
During the event, student project teams presented their community-based research projects, a field placement spotlight highlighted the unique learning opportunities students have through the community partners the program works with, and two graduates - Adam Wilkins and Nicky Madill - provided insight into how the skills and knowledge they acquired through the program have supported their careers.
Wilkins was among the first 22 students to begin the program in 2010 and Madill graduated in 2016.
As part of the celebration, the following program awards were presented to students:
Highest academic achievement awards:
- Year 1 - Lindsey Smith
- Year 2 - Eric Brooks
- Year 3 - Hannah Nelson
- Year 4 - Nick Pool
Professional Integrity Award: Megan Cranston
Field Placement Award: Nina Dimetre
Outstanding Capstone Research Award:
- Project team: Rebecca Boreham-Kneisel, Megan Cranston, Emily Murray and Brittany Noonan
- Project team: Connor Bean, Daniel Polletta, Drew Neil, Nick Pool, Srdjan Stojanovic
Conestoga’s Bachelor of Community and Criminal Justice is a four-year, paid co-op degree program that emphasizes the importance of individual values, principled leadership, and inter-professional and multi-sector collaboration to address both individual and societal issues related to crime, community safety and community wellbeing.