These are tense times. Snipers are killing police. Unarmed motorists are dying at the hands of police. Common ground between law enforcement and African Americans can seem elusive.
The answer, as it always does, begins with education. And as they always have, Michigan’s 15 independent colleges and universities are stepping forward to lead the dialogue toward solutions.
This week, Marygrove College announced a new online bachelor of arts in criminal justice degree. What makes it unique is its approach.
Rather than focusing on punishment, it emphasizes what’s known as restorative justice, an approach that focuses on the needs of both victims and offenders and how crime affects community.
“In this time of crisis, where there is distrust between law enforcement and the community,” Marygrove College Provost Sally Welch recently told Hometown Life, “our institution is prepared to help bring about peace and reconciliation through its online bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice based on Restorative Justice principles.”
The program’s intent is broader than simply preparing students for careers. It does that spectacularly. But its goal is to also change the mindset that perpetuates distrust between police and communities, taking a holistic approach to crime rather than simply locking people up.
Victim-centered, restorative justice gives victims and offenders the opportunity to take steps to repair harm to communities. Because crime isn’t simply an attack on individuals. It’s an affront to communities.
And community is at the core of Marygrove College and the other Michigan independents. Their mission is to lift all boats, preparing students for awesome careers and preparing them to help the world at large.
Community infuses everything about the independents. Unlike big schools, class sizes are small and taught by incredibly faculty who help students forge their own path.
Students form lifelong bonds with professors, as well as an impassioned, caring network of alumni who help after graduation.
And despite what you may have heard, independents are often less expensive and boast higher four-year graduation rates that big state schools.
Be bold. Be different. Go independent.