Campus Life

UWF justice studies students tour Scotland

Ten University of West Florida students recently spent two weeks abroad in Scotland, where they learned about Scottish history, culture and criminal justice. Dr. John Smykla, a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Justice Studies at UWF, spearheaded this immersive learning experience as part of his Comparative Criminal Justice summer class.

From June 16–29, the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) housed and fed students from both UWF and Washburn University (WU).

The purpose of the program was to study cross-national crime and justice policies and issues; compare structures and functions of the criminal justice institutions in the U.K. and U.S.; and to develop a better understanding of the cross-cultural significance of ethnicity, age and gender in criminal justice.

“Scottish faculty generally lectured to us in the mornings,” said Smykla. “In the afternoons we visited criminal justice agencies, such as the high court, Barlinnie Prison, the training center for Scottish Police Special Forces, Glasgow and the capital city of Edinburgh.”

The curriculum included lectures from UWS, UWF, and WU professors, group presentations and discussions on several topics, including Scottish justice system agencies, U.S. Courts, policing in America, the history of prisons in Scotland and corrections in the U.S.

“This experience as a whole was memorable for me,” said junior Vennisha Wilkerson, a legal studies major. “But the most memorable moment would be going to Edinburgh. I loved seeing the castles, and I got to see a Scottish man play the bag pipes. I can’t speak on the impact of the experience for other students, but for me, I feel more cultured.”

UWF, UWS and WU have an exchange partnership that alternates each summer. In 2011, UWF and WU students studied in Scotland. In 2012, UWS students visited Pensacola, and in 2014, they will visit Topeka, Kan., to spend time at WU.

To see posts from the 2013 Scotland trip, visit the College of Professional Studies’ Facebook page.