Department History

The Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Texas at El Paso traces its history to the early 1970s. The founder of the department was Dr. Joseph B. Graves, who also contributed his chairmanship to the Political Science Department at UTEP. During the early 1970s, the study of criminal justice was not an established degree. Although the degree had not been established or accredited, 225 students were enrolled in the five-class curriculum due to pending authorization to create the area of study. Meanwhile, grants and accreditation proposals were still being submitted. In 1973, Dr. Joseph Graves received approval from the Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education, which acknowledged that the university program had met the standards required by the state. The first class to graduate with a degree in criminal justice was the class of 1974.

The Criminal Justice Program received approval as a department in June 2012. The department since has hired its own faculty to continue teaching students. The degree program currently offers a large variety of criminal justice classes and also has ties with the sociology and political science departments at UTEP. The department also has a variety of internships with law enforcement and other agencies available for students pursuing a career in the criminal justice field. As of the 2014-2015 academic year, the internship program for criminal justice has 30 participants who are all students at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Currently, only a four-year degree Bachelor of Arts degree is available at UTEP for those looking to pursue a career in the criminal justice field. However, according to Dr. Mary Cuadrado, Chair of Criminal Justice Department, the department is seeking approval for graduate studies. The administration anticipates a Masters of Arts in criminal justice to be available to students around the year 2016. The Criminal Justice Department recently opened their fully online degree program starting in May 2014.

Students wishing to continue their studies at a master’s level at UTEP can also choose the International Security Studies (INSS) graduate program. Although it is not a criminal justice graduate program, INSS is a closely related program that offers students the ability to learn about international security and its agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other agencies alike. The INSS program currently offers over twenty-one courses for graduate students, which differ in variety of subjects in national security.

Since the early 1970s a wide variety of courses have been added to the curriculum of students pursuing a criminal justice degree. Currently, the department offers nineteen class subjects and each course focuses on different subjects such as theory, practice, and research. The Criminal Justice Department houses over twenty-one professors, both tenure and part-time, who teach a variety of courses.

The founder of the Criminal Justice Department, Dr. Joseph Graves, passed away in the spring of 2014.


The courses offered in the early 1970s were taught by notable figures who held extensive knowledge about the procedures and theories of criminal justice. Some of the notable instructors and the courses they taught include:

Sam Callan, justice of the 205th District Court of El Paso, taught Criminal Procedures and Evidence (Criminal Justice 3205).

Edward Marguez, justice of the 65th District Court, taught Police Role in Crime and Delinquency (Criminal Justice 3303).

Warden Riggsby, La Tuna Correctional Facility, taught Penology (Criminal Justice 3305).

Chester McLaughlin, Chief Federal Probation Officer for West Texas, taught Probation and Parole (Criminal Justice 3306).

Ernest A. Guinn Jr., Criminal Justice Program taught:

• Introduction to Criminal Justice (Criminal Justice 3101) Tuesdays

• Introduction to Criminal Justice (3101) Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

• Police Community Relations (Criminal Justice 3304)

• Readings in Criminal Justice (Criminal Justice 3401)

Dr. Joseph Graves, founder of the Criminal Justice Program, taught:

• Constitutional Law (POLS 3328)

• Legal Aspects of Law Enforcement (Criminal Justice 3200).



El Paso Herald Post (Apr. 5, 1973).

El Paso Prospector (Apr. 5, 1973).

Prospector (Sep. 3, 1974).

Personal Interview with Mary Cuadrado. Chair of Department of Criminal Justice at UTEP; September 2014, Liberal Arts

The College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso. (2014). The College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso: Department of Criminal Justice.

The College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso. (2011). Intelligence and National Security Studies.

The College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso (2011). The Department of Political Science.