Tom Greco is a professor and the director of the Criminal Justice Online Program. He’s also a retired Army Colonel and former Chief Operations Officer for Central Christian College. He teaches the capstone course, accounting courses and Christian Management. Read on to learn more about Professor Greco and what you can learn in the Criminal Justice Online Program at CCCK.
- Why should students pursue a degree in criminal justice?
A degree in Criminal Justice affords a student to become a force of good in their respective communities. Criminal justice offers you the ability to use your skills and strength for good, whether through aiding victims of crime, counseling and rehabilitating criminals, or overseeing the progress of a parolee.
- What unique role do criminal justice professionals play in our community, and what kind of impact should they be making?
The criminal justice system addresses the fundamental questions of law and order in society. An average citizen can come in contact with the criminal justice system in a myriad of manners: When you meet a police officer or sheriff in your community you come in contact with the criminal justice system. If you are called to jury duty, you’ve come in contact with the criminal justice system. The state prison system is part of the criminal justice system. Our courts are part of the criminal justice system. When you vote on laws and legislation, you’re voting to influence the criminal justice system. Those laws impact individuals in terms of delineating what society will and will not accept. These laws also then dictate how law enforcement officers are going to conduct business; they determine sentencing guidelines and who’s going to be kept in custody. When convicted offenders are released on probation, that’s a part of the criminal justice system as well.
- What issues are being discussed in your classes and how are CCCK CJ classes tackling the current issues and questions around justice and law enforcement?
Many of the questions being asked by our society today are discussed in our online classes. Issues can range from the role and responsibilities of police officers, training and professionalism of the force, ethics of our law enforcement officers, how to address juvenile misconduct, the roles of our courts, funding issues and concerns, responses to domestic terrorism, morality of the death penalty, role of corrections and the accountability of law enforcement officers and prosecutors, to name a few.
- How is CCCK’s criminal justice program unique?
CCCK’s online Criminal Justice degree is a multi-disciplinary, multi-faceted degree demanding understanding and skills in psychology, ethics, sociology, psychology, science, and human behavior. Our multidisciplinary approach provides our students unique opportunities to explore many different aspects of the Criminal Justice field. Our program of study affords our students the ability to define their personal goals and probable career paths within the broad range of opportunities in Criminal Justice . Our educational approach inculcates different skill sets skills that are crucial for any employer, not just within the criminal justice arena. [The] student learns how to become a critical thinker and problem solver. These two skills are highly desired by today’s employers.
- How does CCCK’s CJ program prepare students for the future of criminal justice and/or law enforcement?
Consistent with the mission and principles [of CCCK], our Criminal Justice students deepen their ability to be thoughtful, caring, inclusive and active persons committed to human rights, constitutional remedies and to social justice. Our affiliation with the Free Methodist Church informs our values, principles, and behavior and the overall criminal justice program. Free Methodism’s founder, B.T. Roberts, advocated a Christian faith that emphasized social justice and consciousness. Free Methodists began by opposed slavery in the 19th Century. Our heritage encourages an active concern for peace and justice growing out of the commitment to Christian traditions and values and an understanding of human spiritual experience. From its inception, the Free Methodist Church has taught and promoted the possibility of people being filled with, cleansed by, taught by, and led by the Holy Spirit.”
In other words, we believe God interests Himself in the whole person; in turn, we share that interest and try to help others to wholeness. And as we grow in knowledge of truth, the practical result is that we live increasingly whole and better lives. Foundational to our teaching is what we call the “Core Four”. The “Core Four” is how we live out our mission of providing a “Christ-Centered Education for Character” so that our students graduate as Christ-driven people of character. Our desire is for students to maintain a healthy, Christ-centered lifestyle in how they use their mind, heart, soul, and strength.
- Do you have any success stories to share/examples from current or past students?
We have had numerous graduates go on to graduate and law schools to increase their abilities and professional prowess. Many of our students have secured their degree to compete for promotions and selection to positions of greater responsibility in their community or state law enforcement departments. Several of our graduates have achieved graduate and/or PhD degrees and now teach at our college and in our program.
- What has made you especially proud or thankful to be teaching CJ at CCCK?
I am especially proud of our faculty. Our faculty are not only degreed but are actual experienced practitioners in the subject areas they teach. Many colleges and universities have faculty who have degrees in criminal justice but have little to no experience in law enforcement. Our faculty have been “on the streets”, in the courts and supervising our correctional institutions. We teach from not only our “book knowledge” but also from our “street experience,” living and doing criminal justice every day.
With a remarkable history that dates back to 1884, Central Christian College of Kansas offers education focused on professional development and character, for students of all faith backgrounds. Through our global online learning environment, Central Christian College of Kansas is dedicated to providing a world-class education that equips you to serve with distinction. Students from around the country benefit from our top-ranked and accredited 100% online programs, enjoying the flexibility to balance their professional and personal lives. To get curriculum details and download a free program guide, visit: myonline.centralchristian.edu.
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