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What to Know if You're Considering Studying Criminal Justice

by Jared Newnam
November 16, 2016

Keeping our communities and our country safe is a key focus of everyone in criminal justice. Of course, what that looks like in practice depends on the career you pursue and whether it’s in law enforcement, correction, politics, or law. Across the board, however, a few things hold true for those exploring a bachelor’s or master’s degree in criminal justice.

Education and Experience Can Help You Stand Out

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), numerous careers in criminal justice may see 4% job growth in the coming years. This includes, Detectives and Criminal Investigators and Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists. Others, like Private Detectives and Investigators, Bailiffs, and Police Patrol Officers, will experience an average growth rate around 5% to 8%.

As with any job and depending on location, applicants may face competition for desirable positions. (Median annual salary for criminal justice roles mentioned above ranges from $41,000 to over $77,000.) The BLS especially anticipates strong competition for Private Detective and Investigator roles.

In competitive job situations, a candidate with a criminal justice degree and work experience may be most likely to catch the eye of a potential employer. For example, for Police and Detective positions, the BLS says that “applicants with a bachelor's degree and law enforcement or military experience, especially investigative experience, as well as those who speak more than one language, should have the best job opportunities.” For Probation Officer and Corrections positions, as well as employment within federal agencies, a bachelor’s degree is often required.

Technology is Increasingly Important across Professions

If you’ve been researching or studying criminal justice online, you likely know that technology has a drastic impact on the field.

On one side, there’s an array of valuable technologies. These take many forms, including connected database systems, automated license plate readers, and handheld biometric scanners used to identify suspects. In some locations, criminal justice workers currently carry tablets and smartphones that make it easier to access and distribute information. Such tools will only improve in the years to come.

Criminal justice professions under increasing scrutiny are also turning to technology like social media to build trust and demonstrate transparency in their communities. Although privacy concerns are still being debated, GPS systems and body cameras are also being introduced to support both safety and accountability in criminal justice professions.

Meanwhile, others apply technology for harm, with the The Department of Justice describing cyber crime as "one of the greatest threats facing our country" and Business Insider reporting that “the frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks are at an all-time high.” When it comes to jobs, cyber crime is driving employment trends, with the BLS noting that “Internet scams, as well as other types of financial and insurance fraud, create demand for investigative services.” Such crimes are expected to continue at local, national and even global levels.

What to Look for in Criminal Justice Programs

While we’ve already noted that a criminal justice degree can help when applying for jobs, it’s also essential that students select the right program.

Your criminal justice degree program level (bachelor’s, master’s, etc.) will determine program length and curriculum, but all criminal justice degrees should share some foundational elements. First, anyone considering criminal justice courses or comparing criminal justice curriculums should look for programs that explore the importance of technology in this field. Equally valuable are criminal justice courses that address ethics and topics related to race, class, and gender. Finally, soft skills like leadership, problem-solving, communication, and conflict resolution should also be taught throughout a criminal justice curriculum.

Whether you prefer studying criminal justice online or on-campus, South University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice that can prepare you for working in today’s changing field. Explore our criminal justice programs online or contact us today to learn more.

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Going Back to School as an Adult - Overcoming Your Fears

by Jared Newnam
October 6, 2016

Earning a college degree is no doubt different for adult learners than for those fresh out of high school, but being an adult learner has it benefits. At a younger age, while you may have had the benefit of more free time and less responsibility, you might have been less confident about what you wanted for your future and career. As an adult learner, you likely have more defined career goals accompanied by real-world and on-the-job skills and experience to rely on--all things that will come in handy in as you pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree.

If you are looking start or finish your degree but have fears about going back to school, stop and remember the following tips and information to remind yourself that you can achieve your academic goals.

Fear #1: I Don’t Have Room in My Schedule

For many adults, work, family and other obligations can make for a busy schedule. With the right amount of planning however, you can find time to fit school into your daily or weekly routine. When talking with school representatives, ask how many hours you can expect to spend in class and doing class work each week and if there is a set, regular schedule to assignments such as with many online programs. Then, create a plan for how to divide your time each day by looking through your schedule and seeing where you have opportunities. Simply knowing you have a plan can go a long way.

Beyond this plan, you’ll need support from those around you. Before you start classes, talk to your friends and family and see how they can help support you while you’re working towards your degree. Anything from babysitting, chores around the house or planning meals can help free up your time for school work. Their emotional support can be just as valuable in helping to keep you motivated.

If earning your undergraduate or graduate degree could enhance your current career, share your plans with your employer. Hopefully, they’ll offer encouragement and maybe flexibility in your work schedule. (Plus, there’s always the possibility of tuition assistance.) During classes, one way to save time is by relating your schoolwork to your job where possible. For example, for a class assignment, you might choose to create a business proposal that could be reused for your job.

Fear #2: I’m out of Practice Being a Student

In reality, your life and work experience will likely benefit you as a student. Instructors appreciate adult learners who ask informed questions and bring real-world examples to class discussions. Besides that, if you’ve participated in continuing education courses, learned new software, or had to prepare for presentations at work, then you’ve already been using many of the same skills you’ll need in school.

Today, nontraditional students are becoming the norm and schools often design undergraduate and graduate degree programs with adult learners in mind. As you research schools, ask how many adult learners are currently enrolled. See if they offer an orientation class to ease you into the swing of things or provide support staff and resources that will be readily available to help answer your questions. Once you’re in school, get to know other adult learners; you can swap study and scheduling tips, and make valuable contacts for after you graduate. Once you start, keep in mind it may take you a few weeks or courses to feel comfortable writing papers, conducting research and completing assignments again. However, once you are comfortable with the day-to-day aspects of your program, you may find that you are able to complete tasks quicker and with greater ease.

Fear 3: I’m Not Good with Computers or New Technology

Many careers require computer skills, so, while it might sound stressful, brushing up on your tech knowledge will be good for you. Orientation classes can help you get up to speed on the software you’ll need, and schools commonly offer software tutorials, tutoring, and webinars for those who want extra training. While online programs rely on an online classroom and may potentially include digital textbooks or a mobile app, these tools are designed for ease of use for a wide variety of individuals regardless of technological expertise.

Fear 4: I’m Anxious about the Cost and Time I’ll Spend

An important aspect of returning to school is knowing what return on investment to expect from your program. Tools like the government’s Occupational Outlook Handbook can offer helpful details about the value of education in specific fields. Beyond this, try connecting with alumni on Facebook or LinkedIn and speak with your manager and others in the field to understand how a degree might help you and justify your time investment. Some employers, for example, may offer a raise in salary for completing a higher level degree.

If you’re worried about the cost of degree completion, make sure you explore all options--including grants, federal financial aid, employer tuition assistance, military benefits, and scholarships from private and public organizations. If you’ve completed some college courses in the past, transferring credit from your past college experience, can help you save time and money. As you narrow in on your top schools, take the time to talk to their finance counselors about transferring credit and other options for making a degree program more affordable.

Moving Forward with Confidence

Remember, despite your fears, earning your degree as an adult can play in your favor. Life and work experience often teach lessons and skills that young students rarely possess--things like time management and not being afraid to seek help when it’s needed. As an adult, you’re likely more organized, responsible, and motivated to get your degree.

Along with offering a full array of academic resources and dedicated support staff for every student, South University’s campus and online programs are designed to accommodate the schedules of busy, working adults. To learn more about how we support adult learners across all undergraduate and graduate degree programs, contact us today.

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3 Key Traits of Modern Doctor of Ministry Programs

by Jared Newnam
September 6, 2016

The theological landscape is undergoing rapid, even revolutionary, change. Religious communities are increasingly diverse—not just in areas like gender and race, but also in beliefs and world viewpoints.

Just as the religious community has evolved, so have the options for developing your ministry skills. If you’ve ever considered earning your DMin, it’s time to take another look at your options for a degree in ministry.

1. Fully Online Ministry Programs

Technology now enables you to pursue your degree in ministry from anywhere with reliable internet. As a student, you can connect with DMin faculty and staff through web chats, online classroom, tools and phone calls, all without leaving your practice or your family. For example, at South University, online ministry program does not include any residency or on-campus requirements.

Further helping you to learn from anywhere are systems like Logos Bible Software. Logos offers users a vast, library of eBooks, articles, and educational resources accessible via their computers and mobile devices. Plus, everything in the Logos Bible system is searchable, making research faster than ever.

2. Intentional Diversity

Intentional diversity is another signpost of modern Doctor of Ministry programs. With denominational preference at an all-time low, your education can prepare you for a pluralistic society by bringing together individuals from across traditions to discuss, debate, and share perspectives in a safe, supportive environment. Ultimately, this experience can give you access to a diverse demographic likely to mimic the ministry context in which you will serve.

3. Multiple Entry Points - No MDiv Required

Historically, people looking for an advanced degree in ministry could only enter Doctor of Ministry (DMin) programs after earning a Master of Divinity (MDiv). The problem is that an MDiv program alone can take three years, with a DMin taking an additional two years of time and expense. Earning your DMin degree on this path could require five years of your life.

At South University, we have another way. Even if you start with a bachelor’s degree, you can earn your DMin at South University within three years, while building practical skills essential for effective ministry leadership. On the other hand, if you’re already working in the ministry and have a significant amount of coursework or related graduate degree, you may qualify for the Advanced Track in South University’s DMin program. Qualifying students can earn 56 credits worth of Advanced Standard Credit, leaving only 40 credits of ministry study to complete. This track cuts the time needed to earn a DMin by more than half.

Benefits of Earning Your Doctor of Ministry

Ready for the next step in your ministry career? Earning your DMin can equip you to serve and lead more effectively as:

  • Pastor, ministry staff member, and lay minister in local churches/parishes
  • Program staff leader in parachurch organizations
  • Chaplain and spiritual care coordinator in a variety of institutional settings
  • Program staff leader in nonprofit service agencies, community development, advocacy and justice ministries
  • Social entrepreneur pursuing business as mission, and commercial and industrial chaplaincy

Learn More About Pursing A Doctorate Degree in Ministry

At South University, Online Programs, you’ll find both the flexibility of fully online ministry program and educational pathways designed for those with and without a graduate degree. We welcome people of all affiliations, including those working internationally as missionaries or otherwise. Our DMin program is non-denominational and rooted in the Christian tradition. Learn more and request information today!


See http://ge.southuniversity.edu/programoffering/5425 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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Faculty share driving factors behind Information Systems graduate program

by South University
November 18, 2015

As part of the team developing the curriculum for South University’s Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) program, Jason Crittenden and Angelo Thalassinidis focused on answering one question. A question that was not what courses students should take, but instead “What competencies do we want our students to learn?”

After looking closely at the needs of today’s businesses, they arrived at three answers.

1. Data Analysis and Management

With all the talk about the value of big data for businesses, the team identified data analysis and management as an essential skill for information systems professionals.

“Big data is here to stay,” says Dr. Crittenden, Department Chair of Information Systems and Technology at South University, Richmond. “There is an extraordinary amount of unstructured data that resides in our world and companies are begging people to sit down with it and try to find out what they can do with all of this data.”

Both Dr. Crittenden and Dr. Thalassinidis believe this data is being used in fascinating ways--and that the possibilities only get more interesting with evolving technology.

“Once you connect all the data that we have or that we can gain access to with natural language processing and artificial intelligence, we're going to see a number of developments that will have tremendous business applications,” says Dr. Thalassinidis, Director of the Department of Information Systems and Technology at South University, Tampa.

2. IT Governance and Compliance

With the constant influx of new or updated regulations from the federal government, IT governance and compliance is the second area the MSIS team identified as essential.

“From HIPAA to Sarbanes-Oxley, you are hard-pressed to find a regulation that gets released by the Federal Government that does not have some slant where IT needs to be involved, whether that's in the health world, the criminal justice world, or the educational world,” says Dr. Crittenden, who also notes that many job listings today want people skilled in IT auditing.

3. Emerging Technology

With technology changing every day, people who can very quickly research, learn, adopt, and implement new technologies are crucial.

Dr. Thalassinidis expects that much of this new technology will be concentrated in specific areas. “Where we see innovative technologies being used now is to address business ambiguity. We're going to see more of that,” he says. “We're going to also see the connectivity of everything exploding even more. Because of technology, small companies can act big, and big companies can act small and give you that personalized experience.”

However, what exactly new technology will look like, reminds Dr. Crittenden, is hard to predict. “Even the brightest of individuals out there, the Stephen Hawkings of the world, the Elon Musks, the people who sit and think about how these things are going to happen in the future, they really have no idea either.”

Combining These Competencies: Bigger, Faster, Stronger

If students develop competencies in these three areas of data analysis and management, IT governance and compliance, and emerging technologies, says Dr. Crittenden, they will gain valuable skills for their professional future.

He says, “It will make them better managers of technology, it will make them better analysts, and I think students will be, what I always like to say, ‘bigger, faster and stronger.’”

Dr. Thalassinidis adds, “The MSIS program addresses all aspects of information systems, whether that is their development and maintenance or even retirement, in a way that will reduce risk to the business and enable businesses to continue moving forward.”

Plus, what you learn, says Dr. Crittenden, can stand the test of time. “We have brought components into the program—risk management, compliance, data management, the emerging technology pieces—that really prepare students for not just jobs that are happening today, but jobs that will be available a year from now, two years from now, ten years from now.”

To learn more about the MSIS program, explore our related posts or visit our program detail pages.

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805 © 2015 South University. All rights reserved. Our email address is materialsreview@southuniversity.edu.

See suprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

The information and opinions expressed herein represent the independent opinions and ideas of the faculty and/or staff and do not represent the opinions or ideas of South University.

South University, Tampa is licensed by the Commission for Independent Education, Florida Department of Education. Additional information regarding this institution may be obtained by contacting the Commission at 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, FL 323099-0400, toll-free telephone number (888)224-6684.

South University, Tampa is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 3284.

South University, Richmond, and South University, Virginia Beach, are certified to operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia pursuant to Title 23, Chapter 21.1, §23-276.4 of the Code of Virginia by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (James Monroe Building, 101 North 14th St; Richmond, VA 23219; 804-225-2600; www.schev.edu).

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Why Businesses Need Information Systems and Technology Professionals

by South University
November 12, 2015

Just what is the role of information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) in modern organizations? According to two of our faculty members, these areas are integral to every business in every industry.

From Competitive Advantage to Necessity

Jason Crittenden entered college focused on business, but soon something else caught his attention, a new development called the Internet. He was hooked. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Information Systems, he continued on to earn a master’s degree in Information Systems and a PhD in Instructional Systems and Workforce Development.

Dr. Crittenden started his career in web development before transitioning to database development, building robust, scalable systems for his department, which he then linked to the enterprise systems. Following that role, he spent several years as a research professor studying educational technology. In 2011, he joined South University, Richmond as the Department Chair of Information Systems and Technology.

Today, he sees the dynamism of technology and the way it influences businesses as the most exciting element of the field. “Business happens now in nanoseconds. It doesn't happen in days or in weeks, and having IT and IS solutions has become a must in all organizations,” observes Dr. Crittenden, adding, “We wake up every day to new technology wonders.” Such changes, he says, can drive everything from the formation, evolution and eventually obsolescence of a business.

“If a market in Asia has a glitch, it is felt all over the world within the hour,” says Dr. Crittenden. “Once IT was purely for competitive advantage reasons, but it has evolved so that, yes there are companies that can and still utilize it as a competitive advantage, but IT is now a necessity. There is no business without IT or IS anymore.”

Finding Answers to Business Questions

Angelo Thalassinidis started his career in computer science, and over time he discovered his knowledge could inform business decisions. His interest in the field, however, was sparked long before beginning his career. “At about 12 years old, I started dating a girl whose mom didn't like me. The only way we could communicate was if I would write her letters and code the letters,” he recalls.

After learning to write in code, he became interested in breaking codes, which eventually led him to study mathematics and computer science in college. When he finished school, however, he was surprised to realize that he preferred working with databases over cryptology. Before long, he found work in business intelligence, monitoring and analyzing information published around the world to forecast business performance.

Following roles in management, consulting, and data warehousing and information support systems, he moved to Greece, where he co-founded a company that collected real estate data and produced market indexes. In 2011, he returned to the US and began working at South University, Tampa as the Director of the Department of Information Systems and Technology.

Over the last 20+ years, Dr. Thalassinidis has seen information systems and technology professionals become increasingly important for businesses. “The business comes to us with an issue or a concern and we are the solution,” he says. “The question used to be ‘Can you do this?’ and now it has become, ‘We have this general problem and we have no idea how to address it. Can you help us?’”

When faced with these questions, finding a solution quickly is crucial. “In the business environment, because of the complexity, because of a number of things, you cannot afford to not do it right the first time. You cannot afford to not have a reliable infrastructure. You cannot afford down time on your network or your website,” he says.

A Graduate Program Joining Business with Information Systems and Technology

According to Dr. Crittenden and Dr. Thalassinidis, South University's Master of Science in Information Systems program is not only accessible to business professionals, but also teaches skills very relevant to today’s organizations. “This is not a heavily technical program,” explains Jason. “It is a program that bridges the business world with the IT world.”

For starters, students are not required have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and those from a business background are welcomed, even encouraged, to apply.

“This degree will help someone get a very, very good hands on experience with what technologies and what governance methodologies are out there and how to use them from a business perspective,” says Dr. Thalassinidis. “This program is designed for people who want to incorporate Information Systems into their organizations and to gain a competitive advantage in the workplace by understanding what these technologies can do.”

Learn about the Master of Science in Information Systems program on the blog or visit our program detail pages for more information!

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805 © 2015 South University. All rights reserved. Our email address is materialsreview@southuniversity.edu.

See suprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

The information and opinions expressed herein represent the independent opinions and ideas of the faculty and/or staff and do not represent the opinions or ideas of South University.

South University, Tampa is licensed by the Commission for Independent Education, Florida Department of education. Additional information regarding this institution may be obtained by contacting the Commission at 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, FL 323099-0400, toll-free telephone number (888)224-6684.

South University, Tampa is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 3284.

South University, Richmond, and South University, Virginia Beach, are certified to operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia pursuant to Title 23, Chapter 21.1, §23-276.4 of the Code of Virginia by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (James Monroe Building, 101 North 14th St; Richmond, VA 23219; 804-225-2600; www.schev.edu).

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