The Institute for Youth and Justice Studies fulfills the mission of Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) as it "infuses the strengths of the traditional university with innovation and learning-centered spirit, its chief aim being to fulfill the academic, cultural, social, and career expectations of its constituents" by the development and implementation of research, practical application, and training in the area of youth development and juvenile justice. The Institute’s work will impact the Southwest Florida region, the State of Florida, and the Nation. The Institute provides a research setting conducive to the development and application of policies and practices relating to youth development and juvenile justice. To further strengthen the Florida Gulf Coast University’s commitment to the community and to young people, the Institute encourages and supports community base partnerships with juvenile justice, youth development, and child welfare stakeholders. At the same time, keeping the advancement of knowledge, value of public service, and the pursuit of truth as noble ideals, which are at the heart of the Institute’s mission.Enhancement of the FGCU Mission
Further, several goals stated in the university’s mission will be accomplished, including pursuing academic excellence, embracing diversity in its students (in an increasingly diverse profession), nurturing community partnership (with juvenile justice, youth development, and child welfare stakeholders), valuing public service, and keeping the advancement of knowledge and pursuit of truth as noble ideals at the heart of the University’s purpose (by providing advanced and applied research, education, technical assistance, and practitioner training that is beginning to require higher educational standards).
1. To advance the theoretical and applied perspectives in the disciplines of youth development and juvenile justice.
This goal will be accomplished by further advancing faculty work on theoretical perspectives and applied research projects through the incorporation of these ideals in grant proposals, research projects, education, and continued collaborations with the community and system partners.
2. To solicit funding to facilitate research for FGCU faculty, students, and practitioners.
The Institute Director and Senior Faculty Associates will actively develop contract and grant proposals to advance research projects utilizing FGCU faculty and students. Practitioners within the applicable fields will also be invited to work with Institute staff on proposals where appropriate.
3. To engage local, regional, and national experts from the various justice disciplines to provide practitioner and student education and training.
The Institute will coordinate at least one conference, symposium, or forum each semester. These events will bring in local, regional, state, and federal expertise in the applicable topic areas. Continued collaboration with justice and community partners in co-sponsoring events will also be a priority.
4. To publish the results of collaborative research for purposes of scholarship, replication, and empirical analysis.
5. To establish sister center relationships with national and/or international Institutes with similar missions and goals.
The Director and Senior Faculty Associates will explore partnerships with other centers. These partnerships will benefit the research agendas of the faculty involved with the center and be a conduit for best practices in juvenile justice and youth development to be dispersed to the community.