GBCC Criminal Justice Associate Degree Now Also Offered 100% Online

04/26/2016 by Lisa Proulx

PORTSMOUTH - Great Bay Community College’s Criminal Justice program has long been hailed for its rigorous academic curriculum, successful internship program and high student placement.  Faculty members have extensive experience in the field of criminal justice and small class sizes often result in improved professional success among students.  Upon completion of the associate degree, graduates are trained to work in local or state law enforcement as an officer, in corrections as an officer or within the state and federal court systems.  Until now, the program has been offered in a face-to-face and hybrid format.  Beginning in the fall of 2016, the College will add a second program that will be delivered fully online. This is the first online associate degree program offered at Great Bay and the only Criminal Justice program of its kind in New England. The College’s Homeland Security certificate program is also offered 100% online.

According to Monique Graf, Professor and Department Chair of the College’s Criminal Justice and Homeland Security programs students enrolled in the current program do have access to some online courses when available but demand for this format is not being met.   

“Students have been asking to have a program in this format and we are responding to those needs” said Graf. “Some commute and work full time, others already work in the field of law enforcement making attending a traditional face to face class a challenge.” 

Donald Vittum, Director of New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council agrees. “I am pleased to hear the College will be expanding the current curriculum to include an entirely online degree.  This will provide flexibility for law enforcement professionals throughout the state with varying shift schedules.  Having worked with Monique Graf for over two decades, I have full confidence it will meet the needs of today's criminal justice professionals.”

According to Graf, the 68 credit curriculum is the same across all formats.  Courses are designed to be engaging, interactive and collaborative to best replicate the classroom experience. Guest speakers from law enforcement, corrections, juvenile justice and courts will be integrated into course delivery on a regular basis. As in other formats, students will also be placed in a criminal justice internship. “An internship coordinator works closely with each student to ensure that the internship meets the student’s interests” said Graf.

To accommodate the specific needs of the online student, an additional advising component has also been added.  Students will meet individually with advisors and the Department Chair via Skype to ensure that they understand the requirements of the online class format.  “Beyond the technical requirements of online learning, like having a reliable computer and high speed internet access” said Graf “students need to understand time management, be willing to communicate regularly with their instructor and understand and use Blackboard (their course management site) for assignments, discussion boards, and announcements.  We are ready to assist with all to ensure their success.”

Graduates of the Criminal Justice program also have the opportunity to register for the Great Bay Police Testing Alliance Exam offered on a quarterly basis.  There are fifty agencies who participate in the alliance from Southern Maine, the Seacoast and Northern Mass.  The Police Testing Exam is the first step in the application process to work for an alliance agency.

Detective Steve Reed is currently enrolled at Great Bay and will be completing the Criminal Justice degree program in August of 2016. “As a CJ student, I’m pleased to hear about the online format. I work long hours as a full-time detective and juggle family commitments regularly.  While here, I’ve been able to take both traditional and online courses.  That flexibility and academic guidance from my advisor has made completing my degree possible.”

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