The non-credit certificate is comprised of sixty contact hours of instruction plus a capstone experience based on the NACM core competencies. Successful completion is possible when students take courses in the following subject matter within five years from their start date.
Forty contact hours with a minimum of six contact hours in each of the following:
- Caseflow Management
- Human Resources Management
- Information Technology Management
- Purposes and Responsibilities of Courts
- Resources, Budget, and Finance
Twenty contact hours in at least three of the following:
- Court and Community Communication
- Essential Components of Courts
- Education, Training, and Development
- Visioning and Strategic Planning
Students are required to begin the Capstone Experience once they have completed the 60 course contact hours. Successful completion of the Capstone Experience will result in the student receiving the noncredit certificate.
Please Note: Students considering applying their noncredit certificate toward credit-bearing courses at MSU should contact Cathy White before embarking on the Capstone Experience.
Description of Courses
This eight-hour course will present the basic principles of caseflow management. Caseflow management is defined as the coordination of court processes and resources to move cases timely from filing to disposition regardless of the type of disposition (Solomon and Somerlot, 1986, p. 3). The course will be based on the NACM Core Competency Curriculum Guideline on Caseflow Management and the monograph entitled Caseflow Management in the Trial Court: Now and For the Future. Through individual activities, students will have ample opportunity to apply the principles of caseflow management to their own local jurisdiction.
Each student will have an opportunity to review his or her own court’s case processing system and develop an improvement plan. Students will examine how the justice system’s environment impacts the court and how the court’s activities influence other parts of the justice system environment. The students will examine the relationship between caseflow management and the fundamental purposes of courts and will review the elements of caseflow management with emphasis on meaningful events, development and use of time guidelines, alternative methods for assigning cases to judicial officers, differentiated case management, and the many psychological factors that are part of the caseflow process.
Students will receive credit for eight contact hours once the End of Course Exercise and the Caseflow Management Course Evaluation have been successfully submitted. Students who are interested in a more in-depth treatment of caseflow management should consult the credit-bearing courses of the Judicial Administration Program.
Human Resources Management
An overview of the HR Manager’s Essential Toolkit provides the novice manager as well as the more experienced court manager with the information, tools, and practical know-how needed to fulfill day-to-day responsibilities related to human resources (HR) management in a court environment. No matter how efficient our work processes or how cutting-edge our use of technology, the court cannot function without committed, knowledgeable, and customer service oriented staff. The staff is the face of justice for most court customers. The staff ensure the mission of our judiciary—fair, equitable, and equal access to the judicial system—becomes a reality. In turn, this lofty goal creates a unique opportunity to align human resources practices with the strategic purpose of the courts: providing a fair, equitable, accessible, and responsive work environment that recognizes the individual efforts of each staff member.
To that end, this course introduces a wide range of HR topics. It begins by reviewing the most important federal employment laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) legal obligations; legal issues surrounding selection, hiring, and termination; and sexual harassment and hostile work environment. Additionally, students will gain an understanding of the basic principles of workforce planning and performance management, including the performance appraisal, progressive discipline, and how to give corrective feedback. This course will also provide students with an overview of the basic principles of motivation and recognition directed at employee retention, talent development, increased job satisfaction, and highly positive and productive work environments. Students who are interested in a more in-depth treatment of human resources management should consult the credit-bearing courses of the Judicial Administration Program.
Students will receive credit for seven contact hours once the End of the Course Exercise and the Human Resources Management Evaluation have been successfully submitted. Students interested in a more in-depth treatment of human resources management should consult the credit-bearing courses of Judicial Administration.
Court leaders must know and understand information technology (IT) fundamentals, ensure that they and their technical staff stay current, and ensure that they understand how other organizations and courts are using technology successfully. Court leaders need to appreciate both the capacities and the limitations of always-evolving technology tools. This course will cover four primary substantive areas in IT Management: IT Purposes and Context; IT Governance – Leadership and Vision; Infrastructure, Court Services, and Applications; and IT Projects. The course does not require the student to be highly technical or be proficient in any software application. This course is organized around the NACM Fundamentals Curriculum Guidelines and provides a summary of all the key IT areas that a court leader must understand and manage. An end-of-course exercise and evaluation will review and highlight each of these areas.
Students will receive credit for six contact hours once the End of the Course Exercise and the Information Technology Management Evaluation have been successfully submitted. Students who are interested in a more in-depth treatment of IT fundamentals and foundations for court leaders should consult the credit-bearing courses of the Judicial Administration Program.
This is an introductory course on the nature and need for leadership in today’s court. It focuses on the five leadership competencies developed by the National Association for Court Management (NACM). These competencies describe what court executives should know and be able to do in order to become effective leaders. They are observable, learnable practices. The intent is to provide an overview and definition of this discipline such that the student will have a solid foundation upon which to build further study. Students can expect an elaboration of each competency and a link to the general literature on leadership. The course treats mainly the “why” and “what” of leadership, but does not explore the specifics of “how.” Nonetheless, students should be able to apply these basic ideas to their own attempts at organizational leadership.
Students will receive credit for six contact hours once the End of the Course Exercise and the Leadership Evaluation have been successfully submitted. Students interested in a more in-depth treatment of leadership should consult the credit-bearing courses of Judicial Administration.
Purposes and Responsibilities of Courts
This course is a tour through the many values and legal concepts that have shaped the American court system and which define it today. It reacquaints students with the basic purposes of the third branch of government, its institutional structure and history, common terms and concepts, and trends in its evolution. This course will help students in a wide variety of public administration, public policy, criminal justice, or law curricula better understand the basis and role of the courts in society.
The National Association for Court Management (NACM) “Core Competency Curriculum Guidelines” identifies purposes and responsibilities of courts as core to what court leaders need to know and be able to do. Students can apply the contents of this course in a court or auxiliary court organization or operation, be it federal or state. Students will read about key historical documents and will learn how historical events shaped the formation of the courts within the context of American government. Students will understand court decisions critical to the courts’ evolutionary process and significant to the definition of freedom in society. Students will learn how court administration as a profession began and how it has changed over time. Students will consider how judges and court employees can be effective in a collaborative, interdependent environment without sacrificing judicial independence and third branch status. Students will see how the performance of the courts, judges and staff are examined to determine whether we are living up to these purposes and challenges, as well as future challenges.
This course is not equivalent to the first year of law school or a master’s degree in American history. Students seeking an in-depth treatment of these subjects should consider taking the credit-bearing courses in this curriculum. This is a quick survey course, introductory and fundamental to understanding the remaining judicial administration curriculum. As such for working professionals, it is incomplete without application of the additional courses. For any student, however, it should be able to stand on its own to provide those who complete it an appreciation of the American court system. The course aims to present historical and simple legal concepts and information in a lively, interactive format, pointing out practical applications and current controversies.
Students will receive credit for six contact hours once the End of the Course Exercise and the Purposes and Responsibilities of Courts Evaluation have been successfully submitted. Students interested in a more in-depth treatment of purposes and responsibilities of courts should consult the credit-bearing courses of Judicial Administration.
Resources, Budget, and Finance
This course is an introduction to “Resources, Budget, and Finance” for court managers and leaders. There is a wide range of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) needed by court managers and leaders as they engage in budgeting and resource management. For many highly regarded court leaders, their effectiveness in acquiring and managing resources is the result of years of learning and experience. However, reflecting on some of the fundamentals of sound budgeting and resource management can markedly improve results for almost any court manager.
This course focuses on fundamentals and on the basic KSAs needed by court managers and leaders in budgeting and resource management. To say that the focus is on the “basics” is not to depreciate their importance, nor to suggest that their application is easy. On the contrary, these fundamentals are at the heart of good budgeting in the courts. Without them there is a high probability that court managers and leaders will fail when it comes to resource acquisition and management. Because the judicial branch is one of three coequal and independent branches of government under the American system, court leaders must negotiate the court’s budget in a very complex environment of checks and balances and competing public and political interests. Because courts rely on public funding, there is a special set of obligations to be good stewards of the public purse in both requesting funds and using funds.
Students will receive credit for seven contact hours once the End of the Course Exercise and the Resources, Budget, and Finance Evaluation have been successfully submitted. Students who are interested in a more in-depth treatment of “Resources, Budget, and Finance” should consult the credit-bearing courses of the Judicial Administration Program.
Court and Community Communication
This course helps students gain an understanding of the complexities of establishing effective public information and community outreach programs, and provides a framework for making key decisions in court community communications. The National Association for Court Management’s Core Competency Curriculum Guidelines on Court Community Communication provides the documentation for this course. Students will be encouraged to become familiar with the six curriculum guidelines and the associated knowledge, skills and abilities.
Sections of the course will be referring to these competencies. The six are:
- Purpose and Communication Fundamentals
Effective court leaders know and use six communication fundamentals to support the purposes and responsibilities of courts. The fundamentals are 1) positive message, 2) credibility, 3) honesty, 4) accessibility, 5) openness, and 6) understandability.
- Understandable Courts
Court leaders must recognize the importance of understandable courts and know how to assess the court’s understandability and ease of use for average citizens. They and other court officials, both judges and staff, increase the community’s understanding of, access to, and ease of use of the courts.
- Community Outreach
Court leaders must plan, create, develop, and implement effective and affordable community outreach, and establish and maintain a free flow of information between the court and the public. Court leaders not only educate and inform the public, but they learn from and improve the court through community outreach.
- Public Information
Court leaders must understand public perceptions of courts and be able to assess and respond to the information needs of multiple constituencies. Effective courts plan, package, and deliver messages in positive and understandable ways by diverse means. They effectuate a higher level of public understanding of and satisfaction with the judiciary.
- The Media and Media Relations
Court leader relationships with the news media must be positive and proactive. Courts should have a media plan to promote public understanding and respect through the news media. This includes having systems in place to respond to media inquiries in a timely manner.
- Leadership and Program Management
Court leaders must lead Court Community Communication and direct and oversee staff assigned to it. To do so, they must ensure that communications fit with the court purposes, people, processes, and operations that they support. Effective courts ensure that court community communication needs are assessed and prioritized, and that programming to meet those needs is well-managed and evaluated.
Students will receive credit for five contact hours once the End of the Course Exercise and the Court and Community Communication Evaluation have been successfully submitted. Students interested in a more in-depth treatment of purposes and responsibilities of courts should consult the credit-bearing courses of Judicial Administration.
Essential Components of Courts
This course provides an introduction to the essential components of court administration that enhance judicial decision making, services and programs that support the adjudication process, and infrastructure needs unique to the judicial system. This presentation on essential components is organized by how and when they contribute to the judicial process in the categories of case preparation, adjudication, and enforcement. Underlying these categories are court infrastructure requirements that make up the physical environment and cross-cutting issues that impact all stages of the judicial process.
Students will receive credit for five contact hours once the End of the Course Exercise and the Essential Components of Courts Evaluation have been successfully submitted. Students interested in a more in-depth treatment of essential components of courts should consult the credit-bearing courses of Judicial Administration.
Education, Training, and Development
This course will ground students in the fundamental principles of how adults learn best, and why this is critically important to judicial branch work. The contents of this course can be applied in any environment. In this course, students will identify their individual learning styles and ways to extend learning experiences for more meaningful and transformational learning to take place.
A variety of learning activities will illustrate the importance of intentional and thoughtful participation by court managers in determining which education, training, and development programs the court and its justice partners will offer.
Included in this course are two interviews with Liz Strong, Staff Development Administrator for the Colorado Judicial Branch’s Administrative Office of the Courts, and Sherry Dorfman, Chief Assistant Executive Officer for the Contra Costa County Superior Court of California by Jan Bouch. The purpose of these interviews is to provide students with two perspectives on the need for ongoing education, training, and development to achieve court excellence.
This course is not intended to develop students as judicial branch educators. Rather, students will be exposed to the key components of creating and supporting education, training, and development for themselves as learners, and for other judicial branch employees. Students will be able to participate in assessment and program development for their organizations.
Students will receive credit for five contact hours once the End of the Course Exercise and the Education, Training, and Development Evaluation have been successfully submitted. Students interested in a more in-depth treatment of education, training, and development should consult the credit-bearing courses of Judicial Administration.
Visioning and Strategic Planning
This course conveys the basics of visioning and strategic planning. It introduces students to the steps involved in strategic planning and how to initiate, manage, and evaluate such a process. The contents of this course can be applied in a court or auxiliary court organization or operation.
Throughout the course, students will acquire knowledge about visioning and strategic planning, which they will practice in various learning activities. These activities will demonstrate the student’s ability to apply the knowledge in a way that the new and/or enhanced skills will be recognized by the student and, later, by the faculty member supervising the capstone experience at the end of the noncredit certificate program.
Included in this course is an interview with Kathy Mays, conducted by Maureen Conner. Kathy served as the Director of the Department of Judicial Planning within the Virginia state court administrator’s office for 24 years, until her retirement in early 2005. Under her direction, Virginia’s judicial system built a comprehensive strategic planning system through which needed judicial system reforms were identified and addressed. As part of her responsibilities, Ms. Mays represented the court system before the General Assembly of Virginia and was the Supreme Court’s press officer. Further, she oversaw justice system initiatives in the areas of caseflow management, drug courts, family violence, foreign language interpreter certification and training, self-represented litigants, judicial performance evaluation, and the system’s statistical information-gathering wing. Prior to joining the state court administrator’s office, she served for seven years in Virginia’s legislative branch, conducting research on areas of crime and public safety. Ms. Mays continues her work in visioning and strategic planning as a consultant in the Of Counsel Program at the National Center for State Courts. The purpose of the interview is to provide students with real-life examples of the challenges and benefits involved in strategic planning. This course is not a treatise on planning theories or models and the application thereof.
Students will receive credit for the 5 contact hours once the End of Course Exercise and the Visioning and Strategic Planning Course Evaluation have been successfully submitted. Students who are interested in a more in-depth treatment of planning theory and managing planning processes, should consult the credit-bearing courses of the Judicial Administration Program.
Students will receive credit for the 5 contact hours once the End of Course Exercise and the Visioning and Strategic Planning Course Evaluation have been successfully submitted. Students, who are interested in a more in-depth treatment of planning theory and managing planning processes, should consult the credit-bearing courses of the Judicial Administration Program.
How to Apply for the Non-credit Bearing Certificate
Send the application form below and payment to:
Judicial Administration Program
School of Criminal Justice
Michigan State University
1407 South Harrison Road Suite 330
East Lansing, MI 48823-5239
Moving the Non-credit Certificate Forward
Students who successfully complete the non-credit certificate can apply the certificate toward credit-bearing courses by adding thirty online contact hours with a MSU faculty member to their noncredit certificate, thus earning six graduate credits (CJ 860 and CJ 864) that can be applied toward the credit-bearing certificate or directly to the Master of Science in Judicial Administration. They may also transfer those credits to another academic institution and apply them toward a bachelors or masters degree, if approved by the academic institution.
Cost of Non-credit Certificate Over Five Years:*
- $20 nonrefundable application fee
- $720 for the required 60 contact hours ($12 per contact hour)
- $60 for the capstone experience
*Costs are subject to change without notice.
Capstone Experience Procedures
2017-2018 Interactive Online Course Schedule and Registration Form
Click here for a list of non-credit certificate earners. (updated list available soon)