Online degree ranked top ten nationwide

Shannon Columb, Staff Writer

Best Choice Schools, an online source for school rankings, recently released its ranking of the Top 20 Best Online Schools for Criminology for 2017. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater landed in the Top 10, ranked 6th in the nation.

Schools were ranked in regards to methodology, student-to-faculty ratio, tuition and fees, and graduation rates. Best Choice Schools highlighted UW-W’s high graduation rates and affordability.

The program, Law Enforcement Bachelor Degree Completion, is composed of 20 nontraditional students, those 25 or older, who are active corrections officers or police officers. As the law enforcement career becomes more complex, more police departments are preferring officers with a Bachelor’s Degree.

“The degree completion program provides graduating officers with the same range of skills and learning that the traditional students are getting,” Lauren Smith, director of Adult Learning, said.

These skills include critical thinking, communication, data analysis and data comprehension. 

The program is designed to be completed in three years, part-time.

“The number one benefit is that it’s much more flexible,” Smith said.

This flexibility is key for corrections and police officers because they work around the clock. An online course saves them from commuting and they can take classes on their own schedule.

Another benefit to the online course is its use of Credit for Prior Learning, which allows students to earn credits for knowledge and experience they gained previously.

“I didn’t have to adapt to the program, it adapted to me,” David Rossmiller, a recent graduate of the program, said.

Rossmiller, a corrections officer for the Rock County Sheriff’s Department, pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in order to be eligible for promotion in his department. Rock County, along with other Wisconsin counties, now requires officers to have a Bachelor’s Degree in order to be promoted to deputy or higher positions.

He graduated in December 2016 and spoke fondly of his experience and of the staff. To Rossmiller, the flexibility of the online program was a major benefit, especially when working third shift, from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

The only drawback to the program, Rossmiller stated, was not having daily interaction with professors and students. Rossmiller is planning to receive his Masters at University of Wisconsin-Platteville in the near future.

This is the first time the Bachelor’s Completion Program has been nationally recognized. Smith hopes that this recognition brings more awareness to the online program and UW-W.