Student Profile: How One Graduate Puts His Security Education to Work
Interview with AMU Alumnus, Joseph W. Kripp
The following profile is the ninth in a series of student profiles of our students and alumni at the university.
Job title: Director of Safety, Security and Transportation, University of St. Francis, Joliet, Illinois
Degree earned: M.A. Security Management, 2013, American Military University
What have you been doing since earning your M.A. in Security Management at AMU?
I received my master’s degree in 2013 as I prepared for my transition from a public sector career in law enforcement to private sector security management. I retired in 2013 as a Supervisory Special Agent in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after 24 years of service and 11 years as a police officer in a metropolitan police department in the greater Chicago area.
I began working for American Military University as a consultant on the private sector security initiative team. Later, the University of St. Francis hired me as the Director of Safety, Security and Transportation. I’ve been there since then.
What led you to choose a master’s degree with us? Was it based on passion or a specific career goal?
I chose a master’s degree with AMU to further my education and become a more viable candidate in my post-law enforcement career. I loved my career in law enforcement and wanted to further excel in my new pursuit as a private security management professional. Gaining a master’s degree in security management, which AMU offered, gave me the added skill set that made me a more competitive candidate in this ever-increasing, demanding profession.
Did your degree with AMU help prepare you for specific challenges you’ve come across in your field?
The security management graduate program was an immense asset to my preparation and transition from the public sector to private sector security. AMU’s programs helped students to become more knowledgeable in multiple levels of security management. I was a motivated student and gave it my all. In return, the AMU programs dramatically increased my knowledge base, my critical thinking skills and my ability to work through challenges.
Tell us about your position at your employer.
I am currently the Director of Safety, Security and Transportation. My position provides leadership in the implementation, coordination and management of the university’s safety, security and transportation departments. The goal is to provide an effective set of programs to ensure a safe and secure learning environment for students, administrators, faculty and staff in a campus that is growing beyond its current borders.
What are the biggest challenges in your industry?
There are many challenges in today’s campus communities. The complex issues of promoting student mental health, privacy and public safety–there is a delicate balance among them–weigh heavily on many people in the campus safety and security industry.
American campuses have a proud history of intellectual freedom, openness and public accessibility to their communities. However, the Virginia Tech shootings on April 16, 2007 marked a grim watershed in American campus violence, casting light on wide-ranging areas of concern, including:
- The number of students with mental health issues on college campuses and the resources available to campuses to assist them.
- The legal roles of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Title IX and the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in campus policies and procedures.
- The state of uncertainty on campus regarding the legality of sharing information about students with mental health issues, both for students’ own good and the campus.
- Balancing student privacy, campus security, and public safety.
- Gun control laws as they pertain to campus safety.
- College and university emergency procedures, including violent active threats, lockdowns and communication methods.
- College and university administrative procedures regarding disturbing student behavior and their legal ramifications.
Is there a particular class or professor at AMU that stood out?
Each class in the Security Management graduate program brought different, positive perspectives to me. The classes involving the different types of physical security systems and how they would be integrated in today’s ever-changing threat environment were the most intriguing to me.
In addition, the AMU professor who stood out the most to me was Dr. Jeffrey T. Fowler, Ph.D. What a great mentor and resource!
What are two key pieces of advice you would pass on to someone new to online education?
The two pieces of advice I would pass on to anyone new to online education would be: to be self-disciplined and dedicated in learning the material. It’s not easy, but definitely very rewarding. Stick to it. Be passionate in achieving success.
What is your favorite thing about online learning?
My favorite thing about my online learning was the ability to network and learn from others, especially from those with different perspectives and experiences.
What do you like to do in your free time?
My time is very valuable to me and it’s very limited. Whenever I find free time, it’s devoted to my family.
Online education isn’t a one-size-fits-all. It’s a great opportunity for people looking to increase their knowledge in their current areas of expertise or looking at new avenues for growth.
Our student profile series gives a face and personality to our dedicated online learners at the university. Interested in learning more about your online education options? Explore our schools and programs at AMU.
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