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Success of the blue track suits – Police Studies program exemplifies momentum

by: MUN

Academic success stories are born based on a number of factors, but according to Anne Morris, program coordinator for Memorial’s Diploma in Police Studies, mandatory attendance and a solid learning community may be key players.

A diverse population of students is accepted into the program, from those who have completed their first five university courses, to recent graduates. Despite the diversity of entrance standing, the program has a 100% retention and completion rate.

“When a student is struggling, their classmates can tell and they help,” says Ms. Morris. “The program recruits form study groups where the stronger students help those who are weaker. Policing is all about team work, and the students in this program are highly motivated, knowing they will have a career after one year of hard work and perseverance.”

Ms. Morris says that anecdotally, she hears from instructors that students are better prepared for class, participate at a higher level and get higher marks as a group versus individually.

“I don’t think attendance in itself is the answer,” she adds. “You have to be in class and engaged, and I think the students in this program are possibly challenged and motivated by the other students.”

The proof is in the pudding – no one has ever failed out of the program, and while some have struggled with the academics, hard work and high motivation has seen them through.

“After the first year of the program, we started compiling all marks during the semester from midterms and assignments so we could easily see who wasn’t doing well in a course,” says Ms. Morris. “I speak to them individually to discuss what help they may need, from going to the Writing Centre to tutoring.”

Constable Glenn Cunningham, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC), graduated from the program in 2006, and says the program’s team approach ensures that students never feel marginalized, and also mimics real life policing situations.

“I believe that the positive group mentality, sharing of ideas, peer assistance and training ensure that each cadet is motivated to succeed,” he says. “This confidence should increase with the realization that all cadets who complete the program will receive full time employment with the RNC.”

Constable Glenn Higdon, who graduated last August, reiterates that the small family dynamic of the program adds to the momentum of working together to get to the finish line.

“Those who struggled with the academic part were always picked up by the stronger students,” he said. “I feel I personally excelled because of the prize at the end. When you’re in a position where you’re placing your family on hold and have real responsibilities like a mortgage or children, the importance of coming out on top pushes you there.”

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