Jennifer L. Schulenberg

Associate Professor

PhD Sociology (Waterloo)
MA Sociology and Anthropology (Guelph)
BA (photograph of Jennifer Schulenberg.Guelph)

Research and teaching areas

  • Criminal justice system
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Policing
  • Socio-legal responses to crime
  • Mental health
  • Quantitative and qualitative research methods

2016 Faculty of Arts Excellence in Teaching Award
2016 Outstanding Performance Award
2005 Governor General of Canada Academic Gold Medal

Teaching philosophy

My philosophy of teaching reflects my belief that learning is an active process where students construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current and past knowledge. My goal in disseminating knowledge is to take each teachable moment as an opportunity to harness student passions and use innovative teaching methods, regardless of class size, that can foster the transfer of learned skills and knowledge to the real world (e.g., social media, case studies, hands-on activities). This entails encouraging students to move beyond their current and often comfortable frames of reference to one that examines the world through a sociological, empirical lens.

Graduate Supervision: policing; youth crime; criminal justice system

Current research

My research focuses on policing, youth crime, mental health, responses by the criminal justice system, and research methods. Some examples of my past and current research projects include:

  • Policing the mentally ill: In collaboration with the Brantford Police Service and researchers from Wilfrid Laurier|Brantford, this SSHRC funded project involves conducting interviews and ride alongs to investigate responses to calls for service involving persons with a mental illness.
  • Police human resources: Working with the Stratford Police Service, this study uses data from online surveys, ride alongs, and crime statistics to provide recommendations that will inform patrol staffing levels, deployment practices, and identify the occupational expectations and stressors for patrol officers. The goal is to inform initiatives that recognize the unique challenges police services face outside large, urban communities.
  • Youth specialization policing models: This study will involve collecting interview, observational, and secondary data from ten police services across Canada to examine whether dedicated police officers, specialized units, and other deployment strategies are effective and efficient responses to youth crime.

Selected publications

Journal articles and presentations

  • Buffone, S., Chenier, A., Schulenberg, J.L., & Sycz, D. (2015). Improving the police complaints system: Stakeholder collaboration as a vehicle for systems change. American Journal of Criminal Justice. DOI: 10.1007/s12103-016-9360-8
  • Gallupe, O., Nguyen, H., Bouchard, M., Schulenberg, J.L., Chenier, A., & Cook, K.D. (2015). An experimental test of deviant modeling. Journal of Crime & Delinquency, 53, 482-505.
  • Schulenberg, J.L., Chenier, A, Buffone, S., & Wojciechowski, C. (2015). An application of procedural justice to stakeholder perspectives: Examining police legitimacy and public trust in police complaints systems. Policing & Society. DOI: 10.1080/10439463.2015.1102252
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2016). The dynamics of criminological research. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (in press). Police decision-making in the gray zone: The dynamics of police citizen encounters with mentally ill persons. Criminal Justice and Behavior,43, 459-482.
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2015). Moving beyond arrest and reconceptualizing police discretion: An investigation into the factors affecting conversation, assistance, and criminal charges. Police Quarterly, 18, 244-271.
  • Schulenberg, J.L., & Chenier, A. (2014). At international protest events the ‘buck stops here’: Media frames defining the police and protestors as social problems. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 56, 261-294.
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2014). Systematic Social Observation of police behaviour: The process, logistics, and challenges in a Canadian context. Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology. 48, 297-315.
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2010). Patterns in police decision-making with youth: An application of Black’s theory of law. Crime, Law, and Social Change, 53, 109-129.
  • Schulenberg, J.L., & Warren, D.M. (2009). Content and adequacy of specialized police training to handle youth-related incidents: Perceptions of trainers, supervisors, and front-line officers. International Criminal Justice Review, 19, 456-477.
  • Schulenberg, J.L., & Warren, D. (2009). Police discretion with apprehended youth: Assessing the impact of juvenile specialization. Police Practice and Research: An International Journal, 10, 3-16.
  • Carrington, P.J., & Schulenberg, J.L. (2008). Structuring police discretion: The effect on referrals to youth court. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 19, 347-367.
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2007). Predicting noncompliant behavior: Disparities in the social locations of male and female probationers. Justice Research and Policy, 9, 25-57.
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2007). Analyzing police decision-making: Assessing the application of a mixed method-mixed model research design. International Journal of Social Research Methodology: Theory and Practice, 10, 99-119.

Government and practitioner reports

  • Schulenberg, J.L., & Chatterjee, A. (2013). The Ontario police complaints system forum: Perspectives from the community, police and policy-makers. Final reported prepared for the Attorney General of Ontario and the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2013). A view from the streets: Preliminary findings. Prepared for Chief Matthew Torigian, Waterloo Regional Police Service.
  • Buffone, S., & Schulenberg, J.L. (2012). Investing in our youth: Community safety and the role of the Toronto Police Service in building healthy communities. Report on the Hate Crimes Peer Education Evaluation. Toronto, ON: Scadding Court Community Centre.
  • Buffone, S., & Schulenberg, J.L. (2012). Investing in our youth: Community safety and the role of the Toronto Police Service in building health communities. Report on the Hate Crimes Peer Education High School Surveys. Toronto, ON: Scadding Court Community Centre.
  • Cross, R., Duncavage, T.C., Frasier, M.L., Granato, J., Jones, M.P., Lawton, B., Mayes, T.J., Reed, W., Schulenberg, J.L., Soltis, M.G., & Wong, M.C.S. (2009). City of Houston: Conducted energy device program performance audit (Report No. 2009-09). Houston, TX: Mir Fox & Rodriguez, City of Houston Controller’s Office, and City of Houston Auditor’s Office.[Authors listed in alphabetical order]

Invited talks

  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2016). Policing youth: Creating change one person at a time. Waterloo Regional Police Service Cops & Youth Program, Cambridge, ON. [Talk given annually since 2009]
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2016). A reason to hope: Antisocial behaviour and youth in conflict with the law. Guelph Police Service Youth Engagement Program, Guelph, ON. [Talk also given in 2014].
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2014). Public order policing: The value of mounted police units. Making and breaking barriers: Assessing the value of mounted police units in the UK Symposium, University of Oxford | RAND Europe | Association of Chief Police Officers, Oxford, UK, 19 November.
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2013). A view from the trenches: Perceptions and responses to antisocial behaviour and youth crime. Keynote speaker, Public Criminology Lecture Series, Wilfrid Laurier|Brantford, Brantford, ON, 24 September.
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2013) The Police Complaints System in Ontario: Perspectives on moving forward and what change means. Panellist, Report Launch and Media Release, Scadding Court Community Centre, Toronto, ON, 17 September.
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2011). The dynamics of social control: Perspectives and responses to youth in conflict with the law. Gesellschaft für Soziologie, Sozial- und Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät, University of Graz, Graz, Austria, 06 December.
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2008). The personal is public. Keynote speaker, Arkansas Victim Assistance Academy, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, AR, 13 July.

Conference presentations

American Society of Criminology

  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2016). Unpacking the organizational climate and culture: Co-production of discord in a small police agency. 
  • Sycz, D., & Schulenberg, J.L. (2016). The social construction of leadership: Patrol officer perspectives on preferred management styles. 
  • Wojciechowski, C., & Schulenberg, J.L. (2015). A systematic literature review on factors affecting police misuse of force.
  • Schulenberg, J.L., Buffone, S., Chenier, A., Wojciechowski, C., & Sycz, D. (2014). Stakeholder perceptions on improving police complaint systems: Procedural justice, confidence, transparency, and legitimacy.
  • Buffone, S., & Schulenberg, J.L. (2013). The perspective of police and probation officers: Perceptions on responses and factors affecting youth crime.
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2012). Unsung heroes or ‘pass the buck’: The impact of mental health on police discretion.
  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2011). Perceptions of antisocial behaviour and responses to youth crime: Situated knowledge of developmental factors.
  • Chenier, A., & Schulenberg, J.L. (2011). Youth in conflict with the law: Practitioner perspectives on mental health needs.

Canadian Sociological Association

  • Schulenberg, J.L. (2012). Systematic Social Observation of police behaviour: An encounter-based analysis of street-level decision making.

Professional activities

  • Academic Consultant, Waterloo Crime Prevention Team, Waterloo Regional Police Service, 2013-present.
  • Editorial Advisory Board Member, Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 2010-2014.
  • Editorial Advisory Board Member, Canadian Graduate Journal of Sociology and Criminology, 2012-present.
  • Committee Member, Advisory Group on Research & Evaluation (AGORE), Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council, 2009-present.
  • Program Committee Member, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Meeting, 2009-2011.
  • Associate Editor and Book Review Editor, Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 2004-2010.
  • Advisory Board Member, Center for Safe and Secure Schools, Harris County, Texas, 2006-2008.
University of Waterloo

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