Online program fits Karen Seviour's busy schedule

December 3, 2003

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PLATTEVILLE-Being a working professional with a two-hour commute to and from work, and family commitments, a person gets the Impression that Karen Seviour is busy. That didn't stop her from deciding to pursue her master's degree in criminal justice, however.

"I did a comparison of all the colleges offering online criminal justice master's degrees and determined that the University of Wisconsin-Platteville offered the best program for what I was looking for-a program that had specialization in victim services."

Not only did UW-Platteville's program provide Seviour with the specific curriculum she wanted, it also was presented in a format that made earning the degree possible. Totaling 30 credits offered entirely online, the master's of science in criminal justice program is a comprehensive, highly interactive solution for professionals who want a graduate degree or are looking for skills to advance to higher-level positions in their profession. Students are able to tailor the program to fit their knowledge and skills and meet their individual career goals.

Because courses are offered over the Internet, Seviour had the ability to attend class and complete assignments as her busy schedule allowed. "I took homework to work with me and worked on assignments during lunch hours, set aside time each evening for reading and on-line discussion questions, as well as time on weekends for writing abstract/critiques and papers," she said. "I also set aside one weekend each month that I did not work on school but spent time with my daughter and fiancŽe."

Seviour, who plans to continue working in the child welfare area while teaching at the community college level, plans to continue her studies and earn her Ph.D. She has been able to use much of what she learned at UWP in her current work. "I work within the criminal justice/legal systems in the area of child advocacy for abused and neglected children and have been able to apply my degree in Justice Policy Studies, as well as my M.A.S. degree in criminal justice to my job every day," she said. "This was one reason why I chose UWP's program with its emphasis on victim/offender services. The coursework in topics such as family abuse/violence were especially relevant."

Seviour also said she liked the amount of contact she had with her advisor, instructors and classmates. "(Program coordinator) Dr. (Cheryl) Banachowski-Fuller and Dr. (Patricia) Bromley were always available to answer questions, either via email or telephone or to offer advice," she said. "In fact, we continue to maintain contact."

Seviour found online courses work to be more reading and writing intensive than traditional face-to-face programs.

"Gaining time management skills will be their most important asset (to doing well)," she said. "This will allow them to set aside specific time each day/week for completing assignments, conducting research for papers while at the same time allowing them to have both a career and healthy personal/social life. Without these skill many will burn-out and may choose not to continue with their educational goals."

Those interested in learning more about distance education at UWP can visit the website (http://www.uwplatt.edu/disted) for a complete list of degree programs and available courses. Persons may also call 608-342-1468 or toll-free 800-363-5460 to request an informational packet about UWP distance education.

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