Finishing Your Degree

If you do not possess that document saying you have attained a college degree, and a degree is needed, then where are you going to work?

Professors can earn their title in a couple of notable ways. Some by hard work in the field they teach, being dedicated to their profession and their desire to truly become an expert in the field by learning as much as they can through experience. Others by political appointment, such as being the Dean. Still others found themselves lucky enough to socialize with the college or university vice president and their name was recalled when the job search began. As a student, you want the experienced professor, because you are paying big bucks to learn something. Unfortunately, and in my experience, not a whole lot of those people are in education.

For Profit v. Non-Profit

In the media lately there has been a lot of discussion over the differences between colleges and universities that are "For Profit" (in many cases representing the online colleges and universities) instead of the so-called "state schools" and others that are allegedly non-profit. Having taught for both Ican attest that truly being non-profit doesn't exist. Do you think the government would allow a publically funded academic institution to operate in the red every fiscal year? Is your police agency or city government budget legally allowed to function unbalanced or in a deficit? Simply put, No. It's illegal. A balanced budget is an operational necessity by statute. However, state assisted schools can claim the "not for profit" definitional status because they are funded primarily through the taxpayers. In reality though, they are all for profit. Check their annual budget balance sheets and you will see, in the millions, how in the black they are.

The reason why for-profit institutions have exploded over the last decade is because the former graduates of state schools learned that education has to do a better job. For profit can mean good things. In my experience it has meant that the best-qualified faculty members were hired (not the least). They function like a business, since post-secondary education is a business, where if the product or service is not superior to their competitors then the business folds. Let me give you a few more examples, again, based on my experience teaching criminal justice for a state (public) school and a for-profit institution:

Curriculum -
The public school updated their curriculum, at best, once every couple of years. The for-profit school updated the curriculum every ten weeks. The public school expects that I present the information for the student to retain for their upcoming test. The for-profit school demands that I continuously stimulate the student to learn so that the student will demonstrate what they have learned and apply the knowledge for life.

Technology -
The public school is using a technology delivered curriculum system that is dated back to 1995. The for-profit school is teaching the class online and using up-to-date technology and expanding into the smart phone era for teaching and learning; really cutting edge stuff.

Student Centered -
At the public school the faculty member is most important, and every student is identified by their student number. If that person never shows up to class they are dropped and as a faculty member I am not required to find out why they are not in class. The for-profit school requires that I contact each student personally at the beginning of class and on a weekly basis, at a minimum, if the student needs assistance. As a faculty member I have never (in 11 years) had to go through in-service training at the public school, but on average I have to complete a minimum of 8 hours of training for the for-profit school annually.

As we conclude this article, let's review what we know:

  • The old way of earning your college education, especially as a working cop, is to go to class on campus. The new way is to let the campus come to you (online).
  • Attending a brick-and-mortar (on campus) school is extremely time consuming when considering travel time, parking, walking to class, etc. Parking passes on campus, by the way, can cost a couple hundred dollars per year. Sitting in your living room is free.
  • Cops need to be college educated. It's a national goal that the law enforcement profession has been striving after for nearly 80 years. At some point you will leave the policing service either voluntarily or involuntarily and you need to be marketable.
  • Education is a business, especially at the post secondary level and beyond. It does not matter if you are state college or university, private not-for-profit or private for-profit institution. Positive cash flow is the bottom line.
  • Today we live by texting, Tweeting, and chatting. Since we live in a technology embedded society shouldn't we learn differently than how our great grandparents did?
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