Did you know that the average annual cost per Federal inmate is nearly $32,000? Did you know that officer presence is the first level in police use-of-force? Do you know where Miranda Rights got their name?
You would if you had taken classes like Introduction to Criminal Justice or Courts, Law, and Procedure or Criminology.
Maranatha Baptist University offers Criminal Justice as an Associate of Science degree and a minor, either of which complements nearly any major the university offers. Maranatha students have paired Criminal Justice with anything from Biblical Counseling or Communications to Business Management or Biology
Criminal Justice and Your Major
Several students have taken advantage of the Criminal Justice program and continued on to attend police academy. Zachary Terpstra graduated from MBU in 2017 with an Interdisciplinary Studies major and a Criminal Justice minor. While in college, he decided he wanted to pursue a career in criminal investigation. He currently serves as an officer with the Barron Police Department as the next step toward becoming a criminal investigator.
However, numerous students with no intention of pursuing a career in law enforcement have benefitted from the program.
Meet Andrew Vandeyacht, a graduating senior with a Biology: Pre-Med major and a Criminal Justice minor. Vandeyacht is preparing for a career in forensics as a lab technician, most likely specializing in databank or DNA analysis. Noting that the minor pairs well with Biology, Vandeyacht said, “The minor gives the background in our country’s justice department that is helpful to know when working in forensics.”
Not all Criminal Justice students will find their place in the lab, though. Brittany Oberholtzer (Criminal Justice minor, ’17) dreams of someday becoming a 911 dispatcher. But her major? Biblical Counseling. “[One] aspect I appreciated about the program was that it was so different from my major,” she said. “Biblical Counseling and Criminal Justice are very different, yet they complement one another.”
Criminal Justice and the Future
One graduating senior plans to continue his education with law school this fall. When MBU released the new Criminal Justice program his freshman year, Ethan Hoffman’s interest in law led him to investigate the minor, which he then paired with his Business Management major. “I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about the criminal justice system, which may be important if I pursue a career in criminal law,” he said.
Other students have utilized the degree with vastly different courses of study. One student graduating with a B.S. in Communication Arts and an A.S. in Criminal Justice plans to apply her knowledge of issues like prison overcrowding, criminology, and use-of-force to a career in political commentary and broadcasting.
Another student, Madelyn Hansel, completed an AS in Criminal Justice in 2017. She is now working toward a degree in nursing, with a double minor in Math and Biblical Counseling, and a Masters of Bible. Hansel said, “It has been fascinating to see how all of my classes correlate. There have been times in the semester where the content in my math classes, counseling classes, and Criminal Justice classes have all connected, whether we were talking about statistics, rehabilitation, or ethics. While at first glance the areas appear diverse, they can all be connected in some way.”
No matter how students plan to utilize their criminal justice studies, the program offers invaluable personal and cognitive development at the intersection of ethics and critical thinking.
Criminal Justice and Ethics
Criminal Justice supplements other majors by adding important knowledge of ethics. Vandeyacht said, “My science degree focuses on the knowledge needed, while the criminal justice classes focus on the politics and ethics behind the science.” Reflecting on the role of ethics, Oberholtzer commented, “Situations in the world of law enforcement often fall into gray areas. It is frequently very difficult to make a decision about a case, because circumstances aren’t always black and white.”
Through its academic rigor and techniques in teaching, the program also develops students’ critical thinking skills. Recognizing these skills to be key contributors to his success as a law student, Hoffman gratefully acknowledges the role of the Criminal Justice curriculum in developing his thinking skills. He credits department director Dr. Judith Leary’s critical thinking exercises as a key contributor to such development. “These exercises, while challenging, result in considerable growth for the student’s critical thinking abilities,” he said.
Since beginning his work as an officer, Terpstra has seen his critical thinking skills applied to ethics in real-life scenarios. “My perspective and critical thinking skills have both been sharpened,” he said. “I feel that thinking through moral decisions before you’re in [those situations] makes your decision a lot easier when it comes.”
Criminal Justice and MBU
MBU’s Criminal Justice program offers more than online classes; the university also hosts bi-annual Criminal Justice Seminars for on-campus and distance students. These seminars include lectures and Q&A time with guest speakers on relevant issues. Previous topics include lying in interrogations and police use-of-force.
Maranatha will be hosting its next seminar this Saturday, April 14, from 10:00-11:30 a.m. Richard Schmidt, Acting Sheriff of Milwaukee County, WI, will be speaking on the topic of “Police Response to the Deadly Opioid Epidemic.” All are welcome to attend.
Whether you’re a college graduate, a high school student, or a Maranatha student studying anything from Biblical Counseling to Communications, the Criminal Justice program may be for you. Contact the Admissions Office if you would like to learn more.
 Source: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2016-17040