At Union Institute & University, we pride ourselves in having scholar-practioners train our students to be socially relevant, creative, and critical thinkers, and the online criminal justice management bachelor degree is a striking embodiment of that educational vision.
“Our program was designed by professionals in the field,” said Professor Don Lacher, program chair for the criminal justice management degree. “We decided that to attract police officers, we needed to provide a management degree. I’m a retired police captain – I knew that from my own organization and what chiefs wanted.”
Union’s criminal justice management degree program prepares students for advancement to supervisory, management, and executive positions within the criminal justice system. “The [criminal justice management] program is designed currently for active duty police officers, deputy sheriffs, and correctional officers who wish to pursue a degree that is not only centered around criminal justice but has a focus on management. Every course has a management perspective,” said Professor Lacher.
Union is dedicated to assisting criminal justice and law enforcement professionals to finish their degree and even to obtain their master’s here at Union. It is an easy transition from a Criminal Justice Management degree to our 12 month master’s degree in organizational leadership. “There is a direct correlation between the amount of education someone has and the amount of complaints they receive from the public,” Professor Lacher said. “The more education they have, the less complaints of improper service or use of force – those type of issues. So it’s a real burning issue for chiefs and sheriffs.”
In addition, Union students take online courses with other professionals working in the field from all over the country. This helps them keep an open network with other departments. “All the courses are taught by law enforcement or correctional professionals who are in the field right now or have retired,” Professor Lacher said. “The students learn from people who have faced many of the scenarios and situations discussed in class to better prepare them for supervision and management roles.”
The program is very transfer credit friendly. Criminal Justice Management students must complete 30 hours with Union, but they could potentially receive 90 transfer hours with all of their transfer credits, training and experience. Professor Lacher emphasizes: “We’re VA friendly. We’re a Yellow-Ribbon school. If you’re active duty, and you’re sitting at some outpost somewhere and you have internet access, you can finish your college degree with us.”
One of our cohort members from the Colerain Township in Ohio graduated in a little over three semesters because of all of the training and credit hours he brought in. Shortly after graduation he was promoted to Sergeant and he attributes this in part to his finishing his bachelor’s at Union Institute & University. The day before he graduated from Union he said: “Tomorrow is a HUGE DAY for me. I graduate with my bachelor’s degree from Union. This is a monumental day for me. I have always struggled in school, and I hated how frustrated I would become. I promised that I would never put myself through that again. I had to work hard at school, while others would just show up and it would bother me, a lot. I even told a teacher that I would never go to college. I joined the Army, police academy and now 24 years later, I am graduating. What an honor.”
Professor Lacher said, “My daddy used to say education is the one thing nobody can take away from you. If you have a burning desire to earn your bachelor’s degree, and especially if you’re in the criminal justice field, we’re the best thing out there.”