Excelsior College will add a new school to its growing college roster this fall. Dr. Scott Dalrymple, Dean of Excelsior’s School of Liberal Arts, is founding dean of the new school. Starting August 28, The School of Public Service will initially offer criminal justice and military studies programs with plans to develop a public administration program in the near future underway.
The School of Public Service is Excelsior’s fifth school, joining the schools of Business and Technology, Health Sciences, Liberal Arts, and Nursing.
Jack Greene, assistant dean, Dr. Michael Verro, program director, and Gretchen Flemming, MSCJ program director, discussed the degrees offered, courses and careers, and future career growth trends.
Excelsior Life: What is the impact of creating a fifth school to Excelsior College?
Greene: The new school will be a mix of cutting-edge theory and street-smart practice. For the college, it will provide an opportunity to grow selected new programs in the public administrations fields. For the students, the school will provide diversity to our programs and increase public perception of Excelsior as a national leader.
Excelsior Life: What degrees are offered within the School of Public Service?
Greene: Initially we will offer a Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Science in Military Studies, and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentrations in Administration of Criminal Justice, Homeland Security and Law Enforcement and Public Safety. We will also offer a Certificate in Homeland Security.
Excelsior Life: Are there plans for any additional master’s degrees in the School of Public Service?
Greene: When the school opens on September 1, 2013 there will be one graduate degree – Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ). Additional master degrees are being researched in the area of public administration.
In the future, Excelsior College plans to seek regulatory approval to launch new graduate degrees in public administration and public policy, with particular emphasis on health care and not-for-profit management.
Excelsior Life: Can you tell us about the MSCJ degree?
Flemming: As our world changes, response time and organizational leadership during times of crisis have come into the spotlight in the public sector. Whether natural or man-made, the prevention of and protection from events that could endanger the safety of each and every life locally, regionally, nationally or internationally depends on the skills and knowledge of those entrusted to make those decisions quickly and tactically.
The MSCJ is designed to equip the student with the theoretical foundation and skills they need to successfully and proficiently manage the growing and complex challenges in public safety. The challenging curricula will encourage the expansion of the student’s ability for creative thinking and innovative problem solving, while preparing them to lead with assurance, influentially communicate, and inspire hope in times of crisis. Moreover, this all-inclusive program gives students the opportunity to develop the attitudes and performance skills necessary to succeed as a leader in public safety.
Courses and Careers
Excelsior Life: Can you give us an example of some current course offerings in the School of Public Service?
Greene: More than 30 different course titles are offered in the undergraduate criminal justice program.
Verro: Students in the criminal justice program have a wide spectrum of courses to choose from. They range from introductory criminal justice, law enforcement, homeland security and corrections, to advanced courses such as bioterrorism, cybercrimes and forensic pathology. There are also several electives such as Spanish for law enforcement, military criminal justice, crimes against humanity and comparative criminal justice, to name a few.
Greene: There are eleven courses currently available in the graduate criminal justice program that range from criminal justice theory and practice, to law enforcement, to corrections, terrorism and counterterrorism.
Within the Military Studies degree, there are nine courses. Examples include military history, military science I: application of contemporary tactics, military science II: aligning effective teams with organizational objectives, and fundamentals of strategic communication.
Excelsior Life: Is there a typical career path for someone graduating from the School of Public Service?
Greene: Graduates with a degree in criminal justice will be better prepared to meet the challenges of increased responsibilities in all segments within the fields of corrections, law enforcement, administrations, etc. They will also be more promotable, marketable and sought after by employers. Typical careers include sheriffs, chiefs of police, ranked law enforcement officers, homeland security, correctional wardens, assistant wardens, and correctional administrative officers.
Graduates with a degree in Military Studies will be better prepared for post military careers in both the public and private sectors. Examples include research firms, military vendors, etc.
Future Career Growth Trends
Excelsior Life: Does the outlook for careers with a public service degree look promising?
Greene: According to Hanover Research, there was an increase of 39 percent in public service degrees awarded by online institutions from 2007 to 2011. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects growth rates in public service occupations.
Excelsior Life: Are you noticing any career or national trends for criminal justice majors?
Verro: Criminal justice is a field that will never go away and will only grow over the years. Careers are diversified, ranging from municipal police and correctional officers to federal agency positions.
With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, which incorporates 22 agencies and employs over 240,000 people, there has been an exponential growth in the number of specialized positions in the local, state and federal governments. These include Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), federal security, intelligence analysis and cybersecurity. The most prevalent growth over the past couple of years has been in cybersecurity. There is a critical need for infrastructure security and policy to thwart, or mitigate, both man-made and natural disasters.