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Author Dr. Heather Burkard
Criminal Justice Director
School of Arts & Sciences

Carolina University’s Criminal Justice program emphasizes the importance of experiential and global learning. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic affected our ability to travel, 13 guest speakers were able to join us virtually. Each presentation was designed for students to connect current class topics to the real world. The presentations included:

  • Det. Steve Parker (CMPD & FBI Gang Task Force & NC Gang Investigator Association) provided an overview on the UBN gang, how gang cases are investigated, and performed a case review of a gang related homicide.
  • Clay Vinson, MSW, lead a presentation on the collateral consequences of prison, including disenfranchisement, and court-ordered drug addiction treatment 
  • Detention Officer Tina Thrasher, (Guilford County Sheriff’s Office) discussed booking and classification; structure of the jail and how it operates; an inmate’s daily routine; differences between jail and prison; and shared recruitment information 
  • JJ Park, ABD, (University of Iowa) presented information on the myth of immigration and crime, theoretical perspectives on the origin of misperceptions, and the social consequences of crimmigration 
  •  Lisa Covington, ABD, (University of Iowa) spoke about her involvement in the #Justicefortory campaign 
  • Sgt. Todd Burkard (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department) shared his experiences as a Homicide Detective in Charlotte and being on the First 48, and also discussed interview and interrogation, investigation strategies, and the Watts family murder case. 
  •  Sheriff Bobby F. Kimbrough (Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office) discussed his career in the DEA and narcotics investigations

The Criminal Justice program also embarked on a new partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that gives students access to globally focused training classes on international security threats, such as transnational organized crime, human trafficking, and illicit drugs. Upon successful completion of each class, students earn certificates issued by the UNODC, which enhances their resumes. Carolina University is one of a select group of universities in the US approved to offer this prestigious opportunity.  

Carolina University values the academic and practitioner partnership, as well as professional experience, and BLET certified officers receive up to 1 years’ worth of credits toward their bachelor’s degree. The Criminal Justice program is offered in-person and online and is designed with flexibility, affordability, a commitment to academic excellence.

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