By Laurie Hamer
College of Liberal Arts and Education, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Jefferson High School in Rockford recently kicked off their collaborative high school program with the offering of the Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation course for students at Jefferson High School.
The course is part of a newly created program to offer a series of criminal justice and forensic investigation courses to students at the high school. In May, UW-Platteville and Jefferson High School signed an agreement to offer the courses beginning this fall.
“This is very exciting — it’s not often we have the chance to make such a significant impact in the lives of young people,” said Dr. Michael Dalecki, interim chairman of the Department of Criminal Justice at UW-Platteville.
Forty-six Jefferson High School students are enrolled in the Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation course, which is the first in a series of three courses to be offered. Two additional courses will be offered next year, including Introduction to Criminal Justice and Evidence Collection. Students may take one or all of the courses.
The purpose of the program is to provide students at Jefferson High School an opportunity to complete college-level courses, earn advanced standing at UW-Platteville, and spark the students’ interest in UW-Platteville’s criminal justice and forensic investigation programs, and in college generally.
Dr. Elizabeth A. Throop, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education at UW-Platteville, said: “The College of Liberal Arts and Education holds, as one of its deepest values, the importance of providing opportunities for learning to anyone who wishes to engage in the process. Partnering with Rockford schools allows us to fulfill our mission to advance education in the tri-state area. I am confident that this arrangement will be an important one for the region.”
Dr. Jennifer deCoste, assistant chancellor for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at UW-Platteville, added: “The University of Wisconsin-Platteville is thrilled to partner with Jefferson High School. Through our collaboration, we have seen how committed Jefferson is to the future of its students, and we look forward to working with them to create an outstanding experience for their students.”
In the courses, students learn the basics of crime scenes, policing and the criminal justice system. They also learn about the variety of career options in the criminal justice and forensic investigation fields, ranging from policing to criminalistics to corrections, probation and parole, private security and more.
The curriculum is the same as that offered at UW-Platteville, modified for delivery to high school students in a different, face-to-face venue.
Dr. Patrick Solar, assistant professor of criminal justice at UW-Platteville, said, “These college-level courses will require a level of academic rigor that will give these students a glance at college work and hopefully ignite their interest in pursuing a degree.”
The Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation course is taught by Sgt. Eric Bruno, a 20-year veteran of the Rockford Police Department who has years of experience on crime scenes and as an investigator. He holds a master’s in law enforcement/justice administration from Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois.
For each course that is passed with a C or better, students will receive advanced standing if they eventually enroll at UW-Platteville. The credits will not transfer elsewhere. In addition to earning advanced standing, the students will also earn high school credits.
Dalecki said that in the future, the university hopes to expand the program in other locations in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa as well as develop a distance learning model that enables students from various schools to enroll in the courses.
Posted Oct. 8, 2014