By Sloane M. Perron, Manager of Marketing Communications
Dr. Doug Brown serves as Anna Maria College’s Director of Online Criminal Justice Undergraduate, Degree Completion, and Graduate Programs, but don’t let this humble Arkansan fool you, Brown has worked in public safety for over 30 years and has been pivotal in providing aid in the chaos of emergencies.
Throughout his career, Brown has worn many uniforms as an Army medic, emergency management coordinator, fire chief, and team leader of a Hazmat team, just to name a few. However, for the past six years Brown has been a member of Anna Maria College’s faculty where he brings his real-world experience and decades of life lessons into the online classes he teaches.
“I like to say, I can not only explain to you why and the theory behind it, but I can crawl in the Foxhole with you, do it, and show you how to do it, so we can discuss it,” Brown said about the benefit of lived experiences in Anna Maria’s faculty, “I can get on the ground level with you, and we can do it together. And here at Anna Maria, we have those subject matter experts who are able to do that.”
Students in Anna Maria’s Criminal Justice and Public Administration courses are often working professionals who have to juggle work schedules, family responsibilities, and school. As a result, the flexibility of online courses allows students to earn a higher education degree without disrupting their work/life balance.
“It affords students an opportunity to complete their work, wherever they are, based upon their own schedules. If you’re working in a patrol car, if you’re the game warden, if you’re a firefighter, a medic, and so on, then it gives you a bit of flexibility,” Brown said about the benefits of online learning, “It’s not easier, but it gives you some flexibility to check in and complete your assignments. I think that’s the key motivator for a lot of our students is they can access the course and receive an education from wherever they are.”
Anna Maria College’s online course offerings have recently expanded to make more degrees options accessible for people actively working in their career fields.
For students who might be hesitant on taking online courses, Brown encourages them to try a class.
“Jump in the water. Don’t just stick your toe in the water, jump in. Once a student gets that first online class down, then they start becoming more comfortable and realize the benefits of online learning. Take the online class, work with your professor, and take advantage of all the resources that Anna Maria offers,” he said.
Brown was 35 years old when he first went to obtain his college degree and from there on worked his way up to earning his doctorate. As a result, he speaks from experience when talking about the value education has for those in the criminal justice and public safety fields.
“It makes you a well-rounded person. College opens your mind and allows you to see a different perspective and learn something new. Students are challenged and grow from the experience,” Brown said, “I think the advancement opportunities for career development and promotions, are also important because now you are not just competing against others in your region. If you want to advance you’ve got to have a degree so that you can have those tools in your toolbox to compete against those people in the same job market.”