In line with the College’s Experiential Learning disposition, the Loras College Criminal Justice program sets up students for success with hands-on experiences that take the education beyond just theory. Students have access to internships with various criminal justice agencies that allow them to experience their chosen field fist-hand.
“Field instruction is an integral part of the criminal justice curriculum at Loras,” Valerie Bell, Ph.D., associate professor of criminal justice, said. “During their internship, students are able to apply the knowledge they gained in the classroom while seeing the connections between what they learned and the “real life” of a criminal justice professional.”
One of the hallmarks of the program is the criminal justice honor society, Alpha Phi Sigma. Founded in 2011, its focus is on promoting academic excellence, leadership, service and unity among Loras’s criminal justice students. Members of Alpha Phi Sigma receive distinct advantages for their academic career and beyond.
“Alpha Phi Sigma, students gain national recognition for their academic achievements in criminal justice, eligibility for numerous scholarships, opportunities to present at criminal justice conferences, networking opportunities with other APS members around the globe, and an ‘instant pay raise’ for superior academic achievement when applying for certain federal government positions.”
Of course, in-class instruction is a significant aspect of any education, and the criminal justice program strives to challenge students in new and different ways. That includes the forcing to read and react to a situation they may have to face in their careers.
One example is “Law Enforcement Decision Making and the Use of Force: A Virtual Reality Training Ground,” an innovative course that provides students with a truly unique experience compared to other college CJ programs.
“In the course, students learn to think and make quick decisions just as police officers do through real-time, interactive simulations of well-known use of force scenarios while gaining an appreciation for accountability, ethics, and responsibility in law enforcement,” Bell explained.
The success of the students is evident in the results. Loras has seen graduates move onto careers in all areas of the criminal justice system law enforcement, probation and parole, law school, corrections, victim advocacy and many others.
Current criminal justice majors are also excelling before beginning their careers, as 14 of them earned spots on the Fall 2020 Dean’s List. Those students are Bailey Baldauf (’21), Carly Boens (’23), Kiera Cabrera (’21), Keegan Godwin (’23), Audrey Hinz (’21), Taylor Hrabak (’22), Jake Hudson (’21), Andrew Kintzinger (’22), Stephanie Leon (’24), Anna Loes (’21), Bryan Moose (’22), Emily Perhats (’22), Abigail Reding (’22) and McKenzie Rowley (’22).
You can learn more about the Criminal Justice program here.