A new online completion program for working professionals seeking the Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice is being offered for the first time in fall 2010 at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. It is the only undergraduate criminal justice completion program in the University of Tennessee system offered totally online, and one of the few nationwide.
Each cohort of up to 25 students will be offered regularly scheduled courses. Participants are encouraged to take six credit hours or two courses each semester—those who keep this academic schedule can expect to graduate in three years.
“Students accepted to the program must apply to UTC and to the UTC Department of Criminal Justice. They need to be computer-savvy. And while it is true students in this program can do their online work anywhere, they must be self-motivated and complete work on time. This program is not self-paced or independent study,” said Dr. Helen Eigenberg, head of the Department of Criminal Justice
Eigenberg says students who meet the requirements may join the fall 2010 cohort in spring 2011.
Students who apply for the new online Criminal Justice program must have completed an Associate of Arts or Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Students with 60 hours of college work who have a degree in another field will be advised at UTC to be sure general education coursework requirements have been met.
“This completion degree serves as a model for all UTC programs. By creating accessibility for students in professional settings, the University continues to fulfill its Metropolitan Mission,” said UTC Chancellor Roger Brown.
The University is meeting the demands of professionals in the field, according to Eigenberg. Police officers, those in probation, parole and corrections and victims’ services would all benefit from this completion degree
“Increased education for police officers allows them to write better and develop better problem solving skills. Data shows that a better educated police force means less civilian complaints and less excessive force used,” said Eigenberg. “All graduates become more marketable, more prepared to request a promotion or transfer.”
Two new faculty members will teach courses in the online program. Dr. Seong min Park comes to UTC from the University of Cincinnati where he received his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice. He received the M.S. in Statistics from University of Cincinnati and the M.A. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University. He has expertise in crime mapping, statistical analysis of crime data, and policing. He has experience teaching online courses. He also has 12 years experience with the Korean National Police Agency.
Dr. Sharon Redhawk Love has nine years teaching experience, seven years at Penn State University, Altoona, and two years at Ball State. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Oklahoma and her M.A. is from the University of Central Oklahoma. Her expertise includes race and gender issues in criminal justice, victimology, and theory. She has experience teaching distance and online courses.
UTC’s successful leadership academy leads to recognition
The new program was developed partly because of requests by professionals who attended the Law Enforcement Innovation Center’s (LEIC) Southeastern Command and Leadership Academy (SECLA), held for the last ten years on the UTC campus. SECLA, a seven-week law enforcement leadership and management program, is designed for progressive and innovative police managers.
More than 240 law enforcement chiefs, sheriffs and command-level officers have graduated from this university-level educational experience as a direct result of the unique educational partnership between LEIC and The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Eigenberg and Dr. Vic Bumphus provided the University educational support for the program since its inception, and for their efforts they were awarded a UT Institute for Public Service Vice Presidential Citation at the institute’s annual conference in July 2010. Each year, Eigenberg and Bumphus closely examine the student evaluations and make the necessary adjustments to the curriculum to insure the most up-to-date information is being taught in the classroom.
They have also added a community component to the program whereby local community and civic leaders meet with the students and discuss local issues and challenges to law enforcement and public safety.
A new component added last year and guided by Eigenberg and Bumphus was the conversion of two weeks of classroom time to web-based training. The online component further enhances the flexibility of the SECLA program, allowing participants to stay home, continue working and complete their coursework through distance learning, a much-needed benefit for departments who lack manpower and resources for proper staffing.
The work done by Dr. Beth Dodd and Cheryl Faulkner from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the Office of Continuing Education and their support for the SECLA program was also recognized by IPS.