A Conversation with Police Studies Instructor Dr. Carole Garrison
Dr. Carole Garrison teaches in the EKU Online Police Studies degree program. She’s devoted her life and career to criminal justice. She was a police woman in Atlanta in the 1970’s. She helped run elections in Cambodia in the 1990’s. She even thought about becoming a prison warden. Her research focuses on the connections between oppression and feminism and policing and corrections. She has taught courses at EKU for 16 years, and she has been an online instructor for seven years. We asked her about it.
How can a degree benefit someone in policing?
No matter what technical and tactical skills and information is needed in your jurisdiction, none of it is useful without the intellectual tools required to use those skills to make life or death decisions in ambiguous and critical situations. Mental flexibility comes from critical thinking, from thought problems and strategic planning, none of which is academy fare.
Police need not only a legal understanding of civil and constitutional rights, but a theoretical and ethical understanding, none of which is in academy curriculum. Being invested in policing as a profession comes from knowledge of policing's roots, evolution and grounding in society; from an understanding of human and societal behavior, none of which is taught in the academy -- but all of which is taught in EKU’s Police Studies program.
Of course, the obvious and practical reason for the degree is that it is becoming a requirement for entry to and promotion within the ranks. But earning a degree is more than checking a box; it is the essential preparation for performance and advancement.
How do you connect with your online students?
I try to be aware of what’s happening in their lives. I had a student, a vet, who was having difficulty managing re-entry, parenthood, and school. I reached out to him and mentored him through the late work, got him back on track and he finished the course with a B. It just takes a minute to say, "Your work is late, is there anything I can do to help?"
What makes EKU unique?
Our online program provides an intellectual learning community. It’s about developing critical thinking, reflexive thinking and information for today and tomorrow. We can meet the academic needs of the traditional freshman and the returning adult professional. We provide foundations for problem solving, doors for opening, skills and information to get the job and life done.
How do you define “success” as an online instructor?
I think success comes from my students who go on to have distinguished careers and take the time, later in life, to contact me and thank me for my classes.
Read more about Dr. Carole Garrison.
Published on August 02, 2016