Medaille Awarded NEH Grant to Pilot Applied Ethics in Criminal Justice Courses

Medaille College has been awarded a $99,941 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a new applied ethics project aimed at better preparing criminal justice students to face serious challenges like the opioid crisis, terrorism and racial tension.

Medaille is the only Buffalo recipient of an NEH grant for 2018. The three-year Applied Ethics in Criminal Justice (AECJ) pilot will create a new ethics course, revamp existing criminal justice courses and develop high-impact experiential learning activities.

Daniel P. Kotzin, Ph.D., chair of Medaille’s Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, says that the experiential learning component will engage Medaille students at sites both on and off campus, such as athletic fields and transportation hubs.

“Our students are going to study ethics with Medaille Public Safety and the wider criminal justice community,” says Dr. Kotzin. “In addition, we are preparing our students for the challenges of policing in a democratic society. Our graduates will have studied the philosophy of community policing, and they will have a deep understanding of the importance of ethics.”

Medaille faculty members will create the new applied ethics course and revise the existing criminal justice courses during the 2018-19 academic year. Students in the College’s criminal justice program — Medaille’s third-largest program — will begin taking the new and revised courses in fall 2019, with assessment and further revision to follow.

“The project enhances the curriculum for our criminal justice majors and engages partners both on and off campus,” says Medaille President Dr. Kenneth M. Macur. “And while our students are learning out in the community, they’ll also be practitioners right here on campus.”

The Medaille grant is an NEH Humanities Connections Implementation Grant, which supports the interdisciplinary collaboration of faculty members from two or more separate departments or schools. The College was one of only eight applicants (out of 54) to receive funding.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Medaille’s grant was one of 199 grants totaling $18.6 million awarded by the agency.

“These new NEH-supported projects deepen our understanding and appreciation of the traditions, values and historical figures who have shaped our country,” says NEH Senior Deputy Chairman Jon Parrish Peede.

Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at

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