Calumet College of St. Joseph (CCSJ) prides itself on its ability to cater to a diverse student body and enhance education at all levels. One of CCSJ’s most successful long-standing programs is the Public Safety Management program, in which the college’s student-oriented approach has created strong public safety leaders for our communities for years. This already exceptional program has recently taken the educational mission a step further by adding a new online option, allowing students to attend class virtually via the internet with just a few clicks.
“Technology is constantly changing, and we want to be able to revamp our program to adapt with changing times,” said Jacqueline Cruz, Enrollment, Recruitment, and Advising Specialist at CCSJ and the coordinator of the Public Safety Mangement programs.
Naturally, the program is centered around public safety, though students cover a variety of other topics including diversity statistics, risk management, and ethics. Both undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in the school’s public safety courses, with the graduate program tailored to helping individuals already in the field advance within their careers.
“A key portion of our graduate program focuses on enhancing office type skills such as management within the police force,” Cruz said. “We want to prepare them to better manage office personnel and develop a different set of problem-solving skills than they would typically employ when working on patrol.”
Adding the online aspect transformed the program into a hybrid course, allowing students the option of attending class in person at Chicago Police Academy or attending via the Zoom or Skype apps.
“One of the benefits of Zoom is that it is a face-to-face, real-time online meeting platform,” said Danny McGuire, Program Director of the Public Safety Management programs. “Students are in a virtual classroom and still have interaction with the instructor and their classmates.”
“Another great tool with Zoom is the ability to record the session,” McGuire continued. “This way public safety professionals who have scheduling conflicts and must miss class because of court, or other unforeseen work issues may watch the recording in lieu of going to class and still get an idea for the lecture.”
Students typically take two classes per semester, each one running once a week for six to seven weeks. Courses are also offered in a mirror format, giving students the option of attending either a morning class or an evening class each week. This combined with the online option makes the course load manageable for students with families and careers in full swing. For Sheena Green, alumna and adjunct professor, this student-centered approach was a huge part of why she chose CCSJ.
“CCSJ offers a unique program that is flexible, convenient and very accommodating to the adult learner,” Green said. “The format of the classes allowed me to continue working full time and attend school without sacrifice.”
“We understand that a lot of our older students have family and careers to worry about, which can make taking this next step in their education stressful,” Cruz continued. “We want to do what we can to make these courses as accessible as possible and help them accomplish their goals without feeling overwhelmed.”
CCSJ works with students and their goals in mind, providing support in all areas necessary for success.
“All professors in this program are either currently on or have experience as part of a local police force, giving students the chance to form connections that will help them succeed inside the classroom and beyond graduation,” Cruz said. “We also provide students with an iPad as part of the program, ensuring that they have access to our online options.”
Another reason the Public Safety Management programs remain one of their most successful: the college's dedication to the public safety sector.
“Calumet College cares deeply about our public safety professionals and we show that by the incredible amount of alumni we have over the last 25 years,” McGuire said. “Our public safety professionals work hard to protect us, so we do whatever we can to make sure they are served properly and diligently.”
The testimonies of students past and present speak volumes about the phenomenal impact of this program. What stands out most is the way the college encourages and reassures those returning to school after some years of educational hiatus. Andrew Smuskiewicz, a graduate of the Public Safety Management program, returned to school after more than two decades but didn’t miss a beat thanks to CCSJ’s support.
“I was a little intimidated about returning to school after so many years, but the staff at CCSJ made the transition very easy,” Smuskiewicz said. “The Public Safety Management program is perfect for the working professional. I would recommend this school to anyone looking to obtain their bachelor's or graduate degree.”
For more information about the CCSJ Public Safety Management program, visit https://www.ccsj.edu/PSM/.