The College of Liberal Arts celebrates its first graduating class of Public Safety Administration (PSAD) majors. This milestone is particularly important because, unlike the criminal justice programs in many other colleges, PSAD was designed to rethink this area of study.
In 2017, Dr. Doug Cremer proposed that Woodbury University could distinguish itself by offering a program that moved away from the “top-down” approach associated with criminal justice education. Instead, he argued, CoLA could establish a program based on community engagement. The term “public safety,” which, Cremer argued, moved away from prejudicial associations with “criminal,” was deliberately adopted for this reason. The new program offered a holistic education, supported by its home in the College of Liberal Arts, and helped students become interdisciplinary thinkers who could enter a broader range of professions. Recruiting focused mainly on first-in-the-family households that prioritized post-grad job placement, and the program curriculum was developed to support this demographic to successfully complete their degree and move into careers.
After George Floyd’s murder and the rise of Black Lives Matter protests across the country, Woodbury expanded its course offerings and programming to help students think about police reformation and community relations. This included special topics courses like Future of Policing Reforms in America and symposia like The Future of Policing in America in the Aftermath of Grassroots Demands that have made Woodbury’s PSAD program a leader in the field. As a result, PSAD Coordinator Dr. Eric Schockman says, we are graduating “thinking, caring, well-rounded professionals prepared for law enforcement, if that’s their chosen path, who are sensitive to community relations and can have an impact working in communities that really need their expertise.”
Students graduating from the program are further bolstered in their professional ambitions by the acquisition of a B.S. degree. While a bachelor’s degree is currently not required by the State of California to enter policing, there are efforts to change this through legislation, giving Woodbury’s PSAD graduates a leg up. The degree is also a stepping stone to graduate degrees required to enter legal careers or advance in most administrative positions in the field.
As this first graduating class enters the workforce, this approach will be tested in the field, with what we know will be positive results. We look forward to seeing how they serve the public.
Last Updated on May 6, 2022.