University Park, IL,
15:57 PM

Governors State's Criminal Justice Advisory Board bridges theory and practice

Hoping to bring a fresh, real-world perspective informed by his experience as a former prosecutor and now a judge, Judge Marlow Jones recently joined a new Advisory Board for Governors State University's (GovState) Criminal Justice master's program (CJUS) along with five other core members who will advise faculty and administration on issues related to graduate-level CJUS education.

The six-member board will also provide expertise and perspective to improve curriculum and practical education to help the university better prepare graduates for critical thinking and problem-solving in the ever-changing criminal justice field.

Some of the goals for the board include honing “partnerships with mental health factions within GovState, so that we can include trauma-informed criminal justice, encounters with mentally ill, and other mental health-related issues in our course content,” said Janet Brewer, who co-created the board along with Vince Jones.

With backgrounds across the fields of mental health, graduate education, law enforcement, the judiciary, and the public, the board has expertise across disciplines.

Two 21st Judicial Circuit Specialty Court judges sit on the board. Judge Scott Sliwinski, who presides over Drug Court, and Judge Jones, who presides over Veterans Court, have emphasized the importance of restorative justice and considering alternatives to traditional sentencing that are rehabilitative.

Mental health counselor and professor Dr. Shirlynn Garrett , who has worked as a liaison to law enforcement, joins the board along with law enforcement members, Matteson Police Chief Michael Jones and University Park Police Chief Dale Mitchell. Dr. Garrett has underscored reform and change as integral to criminal justice education, while the law enforcement members have highlighted the value of skills like problem-solving and budgeting.

Rounding out the core members is alumnus Athanasios “Tommy” Kolovos (’19, ’21), who recently completed additional graduate work in international relations in Europe. Kolovos brings an international perspective to the board supported in part by his experience serving in the Peace Corps in Madagascar and Sri Lanka.

“I am excited about the opportunity to help shape the curriculum and overall experience for future professionals in the Criminal Justice field,” said Kolovos. “It is my belief that by providing a comprehensive and globally informed education, we can empower the next generation of change makers.”

Judge Jones expressed similar sentiments. “I am honored to be part of a dynamic team of educators and law enforcement practitioners that Governors State has assembled,” added Jones. “I hope that our work will lead to the development of programs and curricula that will allow students to be successful in the rapidly changing world of Criminal Justice.”

Master CJUS program coordinator, Dr. Mary D. Bruce, advocated for the board's development and welcomed the board at their first meeting. “We are excited to have the CJUS Advisory Board offer their input and feedback to the creation and development of the CJUS mission statement,” said Bruce.

The board will meet again in early March.