Darren Marhanka, associate professor of criminal justice, knows how valuable it is that Lindenwood University Online instructors have real-world experience, in addition to strong academic backgrounds.
“In some disciplines it’s fine to have an academic background, but in disciplines such as criminal justice real-world experience is invaluable,” he said.
Marhanka, who spent 17 years as a police officer for the City of Bellfontaine Neighbors, Mo., feels that instructor experience makes Lindenwood’s online criminal justice program stand out from the competition. He, for instance, has a wide range of professional criminal justice experience, including having worked as a patrol officer, as a part of the detective bureau, with the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis, and as a sergeant shift supervisor.
Marhanka was referred to Lindenwood’s traditional undergraduate criminal justice program from a fellow police officer and was drawn to the instructors with professional backgrounds in his field of interest. He enrolled in the program and, upon receiving his bachelor’s degree, decided to also pursue his master’s degree at Lindenwood. He joined the University as an adjunct professor of criminal justice in 2004, and soon after was hired on as an assistant professor.
In 2006, Marhanka began teaching criminal justice courses online. In 2012, Lindenwood began offering the criminal justice degree online. He enjoys the experience because of the level of engagement online classes provide, which attracts students from across the nation.
Another major advantage for busy working adults provided by the online program is the convenience of not commuting to a physical campus. Coursework can be conveniently completed anywhere with a computer and access to the Internet.
Marhanka pointed out that the convenience of online programs does not mean students must sacrifice one-on-one interaction they have with instructors whenever they may need it.
“Students know that there is an actual instructor that they can get in touch with, which sets our online programs apart because students don’t feel that they are alone,” he said. “Whatever an individual student’s situation may be, the Lindenwood Online criminal justice degree program provides a great opportunity for students to either get their career started or advanced in the field of criminal justice.”