Pact to help transfers earn justice degrees

Story by Cody Hall, Contributing writer

Murray State’s criminal justice department formed a new agreement with West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) making it easier for them to continue their education through Murray State. 

West Kentucky will offer specific classes that will count towards credits at Murray State. Students can begin their education at West Kentucky for their associate degree in applied science or arts.  The agreement should be in full effect by Fall 2016. 

“There are dozens of students each semester that, after completing their two years at WKCTC, want to continue their education,” said Daniel Hepworth, program director of the Murray State criminal justice department. 

WKCTC offers an associate degree in applied science. This degree focuses on the hands-on technical work of being in the criminal justice field and doesn’t focus heavily on traditional classroom work.

WKCTC applied science students won’t have the courses needed to complete their bachelor’s degree in four years. 

“We are making compromises,” Hepworth said. “The classes they will take at WKCTC aren’t exactly what we teach, but they will work towards the degree with us.” 

Hepworth said that other schools in the area have been more accepting of the courses needed for the transfer from a community college to university, causing Murray State to lose a large portion of potential students. 

This agreement will help with some of the competition, making Murray State a more viable option for criminal justice students that attend WKCTC and want to further their education. 

Hepworth worked with Gary Reese, director of criminal justice at WKCTC to reach this agreement. 

“We have been sending students to continue their education to many other schools for a while now, and we are excited that it is easier to send to Murray State now too,” Reese said.  “The associate of science/arts are called transfer degrees.  Most students that go for them plan to transfer after two years.”

The students are well-advised before choosing the applied science or the associate of science or art degree before they begin their studies. Those that do not understand the system can easily take classes they do not need and lose time and money if they decide to continue their education, Reese said. 

The exercise science department has a similar agreement for students.

“Students would be working towards their physical therapist credential while at West Kentucky, then come here to finish their education,” said Kristan Erdmann, program director for the department of athletic training. 

Erdmann said the department of athletic training has had an articulation agreement with WKCTC for 10 years and no student ever completed the program.