New Criminal Justice Center Houses Expanding Program BY MOLLY (REED) GOALEY ’05 AND SHANNON TIERNAN Olivet College’s Criminal Justice Program now has a building on campus to call its own. Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation, the college was able to renovate its former art building and utilize the facility as its Criminal Justice Center. With an updated floor plan that includes new electrical wiring, furniture, flooring, technology and a new furnace, the facility is virtually unrecognizable from just a year ago. The building now includes four faculty offices, storage space, three large classrooms, and an area reserved for defensive tactics training and crime scene investigation exercises. The center also houses the college’s Information Technology Services office, freeing up some much needed classroom space in Mott Academic Center.
Fully operational since March, the Criminal Justice Center provides a home base for the 149 students who have declared criminal justice as their major. “When the program first started to expand, we were a little disconnected,” said Phil Reed, director of the Criminal Justice Program and assistant professor of criminal justice. “Faculty and students were in various offices and buildings across campus. Now that we are together in one very nice building there is a sense of cohesiveness. We are able to communicate and work with one another on a consistent basis.” Uses for the facility are endless – to start, criminal justice faculty members plan to expand the correctional officer academies and in-service training opportunities currently offered. The additional space the building provides allows facilitators to run training during the academic year, not just during extended breaks over the summer.
With the goal of bringing at least three new academies to campus over the next few years, the program could potentially bring in enough revenue to cover a number of its annual expenses – including building maintenance and technology upgrades. Priorities include a police academy and firefighters’ academy, which would enable students to remain at Olivet to complete all requirements for law enforcement officer certification in the state of Michigan. As with the other academies, all law enforcement professionals would be welcome to enroll in these, as well. But most importantly, the newly renovated Criminal Justice Center will make this already successful program even more marketable with potential students. Criminal justice faculty members continue to notice increasing interest in their program, with enrollment nearly tripling since 2004. They are confident that the new building will only help to continue this trend.
Adjunct Instructors Add New Elements to Criminal Justice Program Olivet’s Criminal Justice Program prides itself on offering specialty classes taught by experts with years of professional experience. Profiled below are the program’s adjunct instructors, who continuously add new elements to the criminal justice curriculum. JAMES ARMSTRONG Hometown: Saginaw Currently teaches: Corrections, Punishment and Crime; Juvenile Delinquency; Criminal Justice Internships; and Self and Community I Has taught at Olivet: For three years James Armstrong Occupation outside of teaching: Armstrong retired as administrator for the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) Other professional experience: He has previously taught criminal justice courses at Baker College, Davenport University and Ferris State University What he enjoys most about teaching: “It is fun to be in a position to pass on some of the knowledge I have gained over 35 years in the corrections business. The students are a much easier clientele to work with than in my MDOC career!”
Why he believes Olivet’s Criminal Justice Program is successful: “I think Olivet has some very good criminal justice faculty members. Also, the scope of classes and areas of concentration have been broadened. This gives the students more interesting (and also practical) class choices.” MARTIN BROWN Hometown: Southfield Currently teaches: Crime Scene Investigation Has taught at Olivet: For six years Occupation outside of teaching: Sergeant with the Battle Creek Police Department (BCPD) Martin Brown Other professional experience: 18 years with the BCPD and 7½ years as a U.S. Army Military Police Officer What he enjoys most about teaching: “Sharing knowledge and experience, and getting to teach. amazing students with real police work stories.” Why he believes Olivet’s Criminal Justice Program is successful: “Strong leadership at the top.”
PAUL DAVISON Hometown: Grand Rapids Currently teaches: Experimental course in Medicolegal Death Investigation Has taught at Olivet: Since the beginning of the spring 2011 semester Occupation outside of Paul Davison teaching: Medical Examiner Investigator with Kent County Other professional experience: “I was part of a group of medical examiners/coroner investigators from around the country that put together a ‘Guide to Medicolegal Death Investigations’ through the National Institute of Justice. I’m also one of the first board-certified death investigators in the country.” What he enjoys most about teaching: “Being able to share the knowledge that I have gained over the years with new potential death investigators.” Why he believes Olivet’s Criminal Justice Program is successful: “I think it is the instructors who bring a passion for their expertise and want to pass it on to the next generation of criminal justice students.”