OVERLAND PARK – The University of Kansas Edwards Campus in Overland Park is launching a new undergraduate program in law and society in which students will gain real-world experience through internships and academic research opportunities. KU is the only institution in the Kansas City area to offer a bachelor’s degree in law and society.
Law and society is an interdisciplinary field that examines how the law works in practice in public administration, courts, the nonprofit sector, policy, policing and the justice system. Offered through KU’s nationally recognized School of Public Affairs and Administration, a law and society degree prepares graduates for careers in law enforcement as well as occupations in the legal field with human-rights and social-justice organizations, nonprofit organizations, governments, courts, policy think tanks and political institutions. Starting in fall 2016, courses will examine legal policy, legal institutions, social movements, psychological attitudes and perceptions, managerial processes, social structures and legal history.
“With the launch of the law and society major, the university enhances the educational opportunities available for students to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to render highly effective and meaningful public service,” said Professor Reggie Robinson, director for the public affairs and administration school. “Students will gain a deeper understanding of how the law – in application, not solely in theory – affects the broad array of institutions that our graduates aim to lead and influence.”
There is a growing need in Kansas City for a skilled workforce in the law and society field. According to the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), jobs in these fields are expected to increase 7 percent in the metro area from 2014 to 2024, which translates to more than 1,200 new jobs in law enforcement and related occupations in the Kansas City area alone.*
“This program is another example of how the KU Edwards Campus continues to address the evolving workforce needs of the community and region,” said David Cook, vice chancellor of the Edwards Campus.
*KC Criminal Justice Labor Market Report, prepared for KU Edwards, September 2014. Available upon request.