UWP's Non-Credit Courses Bridge Gap Between Academic and Work Worlds

Platteville, WI -- Traditionally, career education has centered on attending structured campus programs with the goal of earning a specific degree. With the advent of distance education, students were offered an alternative venue, but the focus remained on obtaining a formal degree. Unfortunately, this narrow view of education does not serve those professionals who wish to upgrade their skills to earn a promotion, but who do not wish to earn a degree.
Responding to the educational needs of criminal justice professionals who wish to advance their skills to advance their careers, the University of Wisconsin Platteville has partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Justice to develop two non-credit courses for law enforcement professionals: First-Line Supervisory Training and Leadership in Police Organizations. The goal of the partnership is to encourage police officers to continue their education while maintaining their current positions.
First-Line Supervisory Training has been offered online for two years now and the initial response to the program has been positive. The online format works well for law enforcement officials, who may be serving in isolated communities and who generally have to study around unpredictable work schedules. In addition to learning from the instructor, the structure of the virtual classroom allows course participants to network with other professionals. There are a lot of practical ideas that other people are using, notes 2005 program graduate Chris Fitzgerald, an investigator with the Rice Lake, WI police department. If you are having a similar problem, you can just email (other students) a question and they get right back to you.

In a post-course survey, UWP's online graduates reported that the material covered in the course was relevant and that they had been able to apply their new skills at their workplace. As a supervisor I constantly look for training to enhance my leadership and supervisory skills, remarks Milwaukee patrol sergeant Karl Robbins. During the course I learned to motivate my officers with recognition, greater responsibilities and experience, instead of ruling with an iron fist.

Though the online format offers flexibility, it also requires that participants be highly motivated, independent and self-disciplined. Good organizational and time management skills are vital, as are basic computer skills.

The success of the First-Line Supervisory Training course led to the development of the new Leadership in Police Organizations course. Registration for both non-credit courses is available online until August 22, 2006. The courses will be held online from September 5 - December 22, 2006. In addition to non-credit courses, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville also offers online undergraduate programs in business administration and criminal justice and online graduate programs in criminal justice, engineering and project management. For further details, please visit www.uwplatt.edu/disted, email disted@uwplatt.edu or call 800-362-5460.

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