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New Public Safety Degree Addresses Changing Landscape of Law Enforcement

March 11, 2020
Contacts: 

University of Maryland:
Natifia Mullings, mullings@umd.edu, 301-405-4076

University of Maryland, Baltimore:
Laura Lee, laura.lee@umaryland.edu, 410-706-0023

An innovative new online master’s degree program developed jointly by the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in Baltimore and the University of Maryland College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS) in College Park will prepare public safety officials for careers in a rapidly changing landscape.

Set to launch in fall 2020, the Master’s of Professional Studies in Public Safety Leadership and Administration (PLA) is designed to meet the needs of professionals in a broad array of careers, including law enforcement, corrections, public safety education, juvenile justice, social services, disaster preparedness and more.

The curriculum is a response to a growing need for advanced training in leadership, policy, and law for police, public safety officials and other public servants. Courses including Ethics in Criminal Justice, Building Partnerships with Criminal Justice Agencies and Public Image Management and Policy Solutions will be taught by sociologists, criminologists and law professors from both institutions.

The program is funded by The University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State (MPower) which leverages the sizable strengths and complementary missions of both campuses to strengthen Maryland’s innovation economy, advance interdisciplinary research, create opportunities for students, and solve important problems for the people of Maryland and the nation.

“Law enforcement faces challenges in the twenty-first century that we couldn’t have anticipated just a few decades ago. Advances in AI technology and predictive policing, the emergence of social media and increased public scrutiny, and increased coordination between local, state, and federal agencies—these all have an impact on public safety,” said Associate Professor Rashawn Ray, Ph.D., of the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland College Park.  “We designed this program alongside law enforcement professionals and criminal justice practitioners who are dealing with new phenomena and working with members of their communities every day to keep people safe.”

While working toward the master’s degree, students will earn two graduate certificates—one in Criminal Justice Administration and one in Leadership in Diverse Organizations. Both the graduate certificates and the Master’s degree can be completed in 15 months. All courses are online to give students flexibility, as many who enroll are likely to be working professionals.

“I think for someone who aspires to leadership in their department—whether it be police, or investigative, or immigration—having this credential will help you stand out and gain the respect of those you’re dealing with,” said Michael Greenberger, JD, a professor at Maryland Carey Law. “This kind of advanced degree will lead a candidate to stand out in the application pool.”

Lester Andrist, Ph.D., the program coordinator at College Park, said the advanced degree in public safety couldn’t have come at a better time. “Given the central role that public safety professionals play in our communities and given new and emergent challenges to public safety like domestic terrorism and climate change, advanced education and training for these professionals couldn’t be more important.”

For more information about the Master’s of Professional Studies in Public Safety Leadership and Administration degree visit: go.umd.edu/plamaryland.

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About the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State

The University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State is a collaboration between the state of Maryland’s two most powerful public research institutions: the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). It leverages the sizable strengths and complementary missions of both institutions to strengthen Maryland’s innovation economy, advance interdisciplinary research, create opportunities for students, and solve important problems for the people of Maryland and the nation. Working together, UMB and UMCP achieve innovation and impact through collaboration.

The University of Maryland Strategic Partnership Act of 2016 strengthened and formalized the structured relationship between UMB and UMCP, which began in 2012. The law deepens the alliance and energizes UMB and UMCP to pursue even greater transformative change and impact, far surpassing what each institution could do independent of each other.

About University of Maryland, College Park

The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship, and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students,10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 59 members of the national academies. The institution has a $2.1 billion operating budget and secures more than $1 billion annually in research funding together with the University of Maryland, Baltimore. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit: www.umd.edu.

About the University of Maryland, Baltimore

Founded in 1807, the University of Maryland, Baltimore is Maryland’s only public health, law, and human services university, dedicated to excellence in education, research, clinical care, and public service. UMB enrolls more than 6,800 students in six nationally ranked professional schools — medicine, law, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, and social work — and an interdisciplinary Graduate School. The university provides more than $40 million each year in uncompensated care to Maryland citizens and receives more than $667 million in extramural research funding annually. For more information about the University of Maryland, Baltimore visit: www.umaryland.edu.