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Abstract

A mythical Democratic-Republican National Convention (DRNC) was created as a focusing event which serves as the overarching theme for all newly redesigned courses in the graduate Criminal Justice Department at Saint Leo University. The study examines the effectiveness of focusing events in a graduate level curriculum. Students in the newly redesigned DRNC courses were surveyed. The results indicate that the overarching theme was perceived as being a valuable learning tool. The respondents indicated that the DRNC scenarios were highly realistic and would strengthen decision-making skills in their individual criminal justice careers. Somewhat surprising was the finding that the newly designed courses were perceived as not being any more interesting than the non-DRNC courses. Another concern was that some of the students did not seem to be aware that an overarching theme existed at all. This finding may indicate a weakness in the initial presentation of the concept to the students.

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