UWP helps Koehle find time to get master's degree

January 9, 2004

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PLATTEVILLE-As a full-time police officer, permanently working the midnight shift, Greg Koehle's work schedule is anything but routine. Then add to it the occasional job-related court appearances he attends during the day, and it makes it difficult for him to attend a traditional on-campus master's degree program. Despite this, Koehle knew he wanted to earn a master's in criminal justice. He found exactly what he needed in the University of Wisconsin-Platteville's online master's in criminal justice program.

Totaling 30 credits offered entirely online, the master of science in criminal justice program is a comprehensive, highly interactive solution for professionals who want a graduate degree and 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.

Balancing school, work and a family was difficult, especially when Koehle's daughter was born during the semester. But, the flexibility of the program made it possible. Koehle offered a bit of simple advice to potential students. "Be very organized at the start of a course and remain that way."

Currently working in his fifth year as a police officer, Koehle said the online format worked well for him. "I was not the most computer literate person when I began the program, and initially I was worried that this would be too hard," he said. "After getting into the course and checking things out I realized that navigation through the course was easy and computer literacy came with the more courses I took."

Koehle, who hopes to use his master's degree to teach part-time and may eventually pursue a doctoral degree, said the personal attention he received throughout the program was incredible. "My advisor, Dr. Cheryl Banachowski-Fuller was great; she always responded to e-mails in a very timely manner and would call whenever it was convenient for me. All of the other instructors were very helpful and understanding too."

Koehle said, in comparison to traditional on-campus courses he's taken, this online program required him to be more independent and active as a student. It also greatly improved his communication skills and provided him with valuable information that he is able to use in his job.

"A large part of my job is written communication, and this program obviously involved a great deal of that. Because of this program, I am able to articulate better and also write more precisely. Also, the last class I took was a criminal procedure course which covered case law, and I did use some of the case law at court to defend my actions."

"Obtaining a master's degree has been a goal of mine since I completed my undergraduate degree, and UWP made the experience very challenging and rewarding," he said.

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 can also call 608-342-1468 or toll-free 800-363-5460 to request an informational packet about UWP distance education.

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