By Sloane M. Perron, Manager of Marketing Communications
Anna Maria College is committed to making higher education more accessible to students, especially working professionals and those with family responsibilities. The upcoming Criminal Justice Virtual Open House on March 7 is an opportunity for prospective students to learn about the experience of online CJ classes directly from the faculty who teach them.
Professor Vincent Gorgoglione ‘96 G’99 has been a criminal justice professor at Anna Maria College for over 20 years. His academic accomplishments are further enriched by his 32 years as Worcester police officer which includes 15 years as a Detective Sergeant assigned to the Special Crimes Division, meaning he can provide his students with both theoretical and real-world insights.
“I think bringing that type of experience into the classroom is definitely helpful for students,” Gorgoglione said, “When you have someone who has a degree in the subject matter and has practical experience out in the field, I think that makes the student experience stronger. Both sides of the fence are important, the academia side and the practical experience on the street.”
Back when Gorgoglione was a police officer first starting his career with a young family, he had to be onsite to earn his degrees. Throughout his time as an educator, he has seen online education transition at Anna Maria College from a time when remote teaching was a rarity to now having the courses that he teaches be 100% online. This method of instruction gives students and working professionals the flexibility to complete rigorous courses on a schedule that suits their personal needs.
“Life is complicated enough without adding more to yourself. Working and raising a family are both very important parts of life,” Gorgoglione said, “That’s why the online program works because you have that flexibility, it’s one less thing you have to do at a certain time. You can work your schedule around things. That’s why I think online instruction is great for the vast majority of adults who are already working full-time and have started their careers.”
According to Gorgoglione while the state of Massachusetts currently requires only a high school diploma to become a police officer, the educational requirements may change in the future. However, Gorgoglione believes that furthering one’s education makes you a more competitive candidate for jobs and promotions, while expanding your view of the world and opening students up to new experiences.
“Having a degree definitely adds to your expertise in the field because you not only have the practical experience on the street, but you also have the theory behind it. The whys of what you’re doing and how to approach certain scenes and how to approach certain people and so on and so forth. In order to get a well-rounded education, you not only have to study your CJ degree requirements, but you’re doing literature courses, psychology courses, sociology courses, and other courses that that help you deal with people and understand peopleL which is key to becoming a good police officer,” Gorgoglione explained.
John Golojuch from Wilmington has been on the police force for 13 years and served in public safety for over 20 years. While continuing his service as a police officer, Golojuch decided to go back to school at the age of 41 to obtain his bachelor’s degree.
Career advancement, professional development, and utilization of an education stipend from his department were all practical factors for going back to school, but Golojuch also wanted to show his 6- and 7-year-old children the accomplishments that come with hard work.
Nearly 4 years later, Golojuch is graduating this May and has his sights set on continuing his education with a master’s in criminal justice.
When applying to colleges, Golojuch attended seminars at other local institutions that offered criminal justice courses, but he appreciated that Anna Maria College faculty understood real world pressures and were willing to work with students who had untraditional backgrounds and needs.
“The reason why I was directed towards Anna Maria was that it was the best fit for a working professional with a family. Especially for someone like me who works full-time, puts in more than a 40-hour work week, who is married, and who has two small children at home,” Golojuch said.
, “Anna Maria faculty are very accommodating towards working individuals or those with families. The other college programs I looked at were strictly education first. They were not worried about your career, but more worried about themselves.”
After 20 years of being away from a classroom setting, Golojuch thought he would prefer the in-class setting he had been accustomed to in high school and was skeptical of fully online learning. However, Golojuch quickly discovered the benefits of flexibility and felt like professors were accessible and helpful every step of the way.
“After about three weeks of my first semester in the fall of 2020, I learned that online was actually easier than I thought and also far more beneficial than going to class three times a week and trying to figure out that scheduling with family and work,” Golojuch said, “All my professors with Anna Maria have been great communication wise. I’ve never had any problems with sending out an email and them responding right back whether that’s through Zoom, personal phone calls, or email. I’ve never had one problem getting in touch with any of my professors, no matter the curriculum or the class.”
Whether at his son’s hockey games, on lunch breaks at work, or on family vacations, Golojuch was able to access and complete his assignments whenever he carved out time during his hectic schedule. Golojuch would recommend the online CJ classes to other students and is thankful for the support of his family, especially his wife.
Find out more about the benefits on an online criminal justice degree during Anna Maria’s Criminal Justice Virtual Open House on March 7 at 7:00 p.m. featuring panelists: Dr. Doug Brown, Chief Dave Armstrong, Lori Farrar, and Shane Carney.
Click here to register: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/1016745078889/WN_4gai8ng5RgiWptxdeD2A6g