Mary Baldwin University will host the annual Virginia Association of Criminal Justice Educators (VACJE) Conference Friday.

The conference brings “representatives from colleges and universities across the commonwealth,” according to a press release from MBU.

Conference participants “will discuss their work in higher education and the larger field of criminal justice, including police, courts, corrections and the institutions with which they work like schools and social services.”

This year’s conference has the theme “Bridging Academia, Training, Research, and Practice,” and is the first time MBU has hosted the annual event.

Associate Professor Kathy Evans from the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice at Eastern Mennonite University will be Friday’s keynote speaker. The press release stated that she will lead an interactive session on using restorative justice in the classroom.

Beth Easterling, co-director of the criminal justice program at MBU, and a First Year Research Award recipient will present at the conference on “how undergraduate research helps bring scholarship to life at MBU.”

Three MBU students will present on their research within criminal justice.

And MBU Provost Ty Buckman will speak on the administrative state of higher education in Virginia.

“Having our VACJE membership together with students, Dr. Buckman, and Dr. Evans is a unique opportunity to share successes and explore ways to enhance our teaching, and continue to offer the best educational experiences to students majoring in our field,” said Easterling in the press release.

The press release said that criminal justice is one of MBU’s most popular undergraduate majors, and is offered on the main campus in Staunton and through online courses.

The conference begins at 9:30 a.m. on October 4 at the Wharf, 19 W. Johnson St., Staunton, with introductions and welcome by VACJE’s President Dr. James Hodgson. For more information, visit

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