Averett University’s Graduate and Professional Studies Program Forms Criminal Justice Advisory Board

Posted on September 14th, 2017 by Danielle Staub

Averett University’s Dr. James Hodgson, Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) criminal justice program director and professor, has been working to form Criminal Justice Advisory Boards in the Danville, Richmond, Roanoke, Northern Virginia (Quantico) and Tidewater Region (Chesapeake) communities. The goal is to bring together the leaders in Criminal Justice at Averett and in the surrounding communities where Averett has GPS campuses.

The advisory boards plan to discuss criminal justice issues and topics including:

• Seek the guidance and feedback from the criminal justice community partners in regards to Averett’s changes and development of criminal justice curriculum and programing.
• Seek the guidance from the criminal justice community partners in regards to industry trends and educational needs within the criminal justice field and how Averett can meet these educational requirements.
• Seek assistance from the criminal justice community partners in the recruitment, retention and the graduation of practitioners to enhance the delivery of professional criminal justice services in our communities.

The Southern Virginia Criminal Justice Advisory Board recently held its first meeting at Averett’s Riverview Campus in Danville. Hodgson said it was very successful and well attended.

“I can tell you without hesitation that all of the feedback was extremely positive and most indicating how professional, efficient and kind our Averett University staff and faculty were in conducting this event,” Hodgson said.

“This reaffirms that educational institutions, in partnership with local, state and federal agencies, can make a positive impact in several different ways,” said Ron Lonzo, executive director of GPS enrollment. “Educational institutions and law enforcement agencies can not only assist in providing unique recruitment opportunities to each other, but can also make a significant difference in community engagement and positive messaging. When it comes to mission fit, working together just makes sense and can only enhance the good work each is trying to do.”

“I think this meeting was a great first step for building partnerships with the community, Department of Corrections and Averett. I believe that by working together, we can truly help to advance this community and educate our men and women who want to dedicate their life to law enforcement,” said Deputy Chief Robert Fincher of the Martinsville Police Department.

“In addition to assisting Averett with curriculum feedback for undergraduate and graduate degrees in Criminal Justice at Averett, the group that assembled had some really practical ideas regarding law enforcement and student involvement that could have substantial impact on the community as well as career growth for Averett students,” Lonzo said.

In the days following the advisory board meeting, the GPS team personally visited the local first responders in Danville, as well as across the state, bringing cakes and refreshments. The team wanted to personally show the first responders an appreciation for their service and to tell them about a new first responder scholarship. GPS is now offering a first responder scholarship for those who apply in the month of September to continue their education with Averett, and start within the next six months. For the full details on the scholarship, click here.