Every year, the Department of Career Planning and Development asks students to share the name of the faculty member who has helped them the most in reaching their career goals. Over the years, the Department of Career Planning and Development realized that there were patterns of faculty members who were receiving a substantial amount of mentions every year. To honor these faculty members, they created an award to be presented to the faculty member in each college who was named most frequently by students. This past year the College of Humanities and Social Science Faculty Career Advisor Award went to Dr. Stan Crowder.
Crowder is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, and he has been involved in the field of criminal justice since he was 22 years old. He has been teaching at Kennesaw State since 1999. Before becoming a professor, Crowder was an Army trainer, which facilitated an easy transition from teaching Soldiers to teaching students.
Career planning discussions begin in the introductory criminal justice course, Foundations of Criminal Justice. Because criminal justice is a complex field, there are many career opportunities beyond law enforcement, prison guards, crime scene technicians, or as an entry pathway to law school. Crowder uses his courses to apply the subject matter to the realities of possible career paths because sometimes students come into the course only knowing what they have seen on TV shows such as Criminal Minds or CSI: Miami. For criminal justice students, the most important course for career planning is State and Federal Law Enforcement Initiatives. Crowder only teaches this course once every year during the Maymester. State and Federal Law Enforcement Initiatives is taught in a seminar format and guest speakers from ten federal agencies and ten state agencies lead the class in learning the mission and tasks for the agency, the recruit requirements, and career path insights. Guest speakers include such federal agencies as: US Customs, US Marshals, US Secret Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. State agencies that present include: Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and Georgia Department of Public Health. Special guest speakers, such as the Inspector General for the Los Angeles Unified School District, are also invited to speak.
For Crowder, receiving the Faculty Career Advisor Award is important because it is acknowledgement from his students that he is truly making a difference in helping them build their future and navigate the decision-making process about where and how to use their criminal justice degrees. His mantra is “It is All about the Student,” and his students quite obviously appreciate his dedication to helping them answer those career planning questions. Crowder believes that students should be treated as future colleagues because they will be the one to carry the torch into the future, so mentoring students is an opportunity to impact the future leadership of the American Criminal Justice System.
However, for students currently in one of Crowder’s courses or for students looking for career planning advice, Crowder recommends for students to realize the practical application of the skills they are learning inside the classroom. Criminal justice students will use writing and research skills every day as part of their career: “In accordance with the Scientific Method, which is backbone of what Criminal Justice students must learn and execute, the data gathering begins at the crime scene. Writing is required in every course I teach because I want to hone the writing skills of the future investigators to withstand the critique of attorneys, judges, and jurors. If it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen; therefore, writing is a vital skill for career success.” And that advice extends to every academic discipline, because writing and research are skills which every career uses.
Faculty members interested in including career planning in their courses are encouraged to work with the Department of Career Planning and Development. For more information, please visit http://careers.kennesaw.edu/faculty/ or call 470-578-6555.
Posted: September 7, 2016