July 4, 2012
12-172

Malynda Dorsey
Communications Specialist

Online Criminal Justice Program Provides Opportunities for Working Adults

VALDOSTA -- It had been several years since Steven Colgan attended undergraduate classes at Valdosta State University. When he decided to return last year, the former computer science major was looking for something that would not conflict with his schedule and related to his current career as an investigator with the Moultrie Police Department.

“I work full-time Monday through Friday, so it was not feasible for me to continue my career and finish my degree through traditional on-campus courses,” Colgan said.

Much to his delight, VSU’s new criminal justice online program was introduced in fall 2011.
“The courses allow me to continue my current employment while attending school. The information is also directly related to my current assignment.”

Colgan applies the information and skills he obtains through his courses in his current position and plans to ultimately use it to advance into an administrative position in law enforcement.

The new criminal justice online program continues to open doors for students like Colgan to earn their degrees while maintaining busy work schedules and daily routines.

The criminal justice program offers online options for undergraduate and graduate students. The program is one of the first completely online undergraduate programs offered at the university.

According to Dr. Shani Wilfred, adviser for the online program, students learn the structure of the criminal justice system through innovative research and effective instruction. The program prepares undergraduate students for entry-level positions in criminal justice and grooms graduate students to advance in their careers.

Undergraduate student Kimberly Keen said that she always wanted to pursue a career in criminal justice, but never had the time to work, take care of her family and attend class on-campus.

“This program allows me to do all of my course work from home, which is great considering I have am married to a police officer who has crazy hours and I have a 5-year-old daughter,” she explained. “I can log in to my classes anytime and anywhere and do my homework any time before the deadline. The online program is very functional.”

The Tifton resident currently works in the counseling center at a local college, but said her dream is to work as a forensic interviewer or probation officer.

“I've always wanted to go VSU, but I didn't think it was possible. When I found out VSU had this online program I was ecstatic and I am just so thankful that this program is in place.”

Distance learning helps broaden students’ access to higher education by allowing them to pursue their degrees online. Online courses accommodate working students by offering them flexible alternatives to traditional in-class instruction.

For more information about the criminal justice online program, visit http://www.valdosta.edu/crju/onlineprograms .