The purpose of this paper is to reflect on my personal and professional growth during my Criminal Justice program of study at the University of Phoenix. The paper will reflect upon where I was before I began college at the University of Phoenix. Then I will evaluate the growth I experienced during my University of Phoenix program of study. To conclude, the paper will analyze the impact of completing the University of Phoenix bachelor’s program on my current and future professional goals.
I went to college for the first time right after high school and learned very quickly that I did not know why I was there. I attained a job, thinking I would return when I decided what I wanted to be. The second time I went to college, I was in my early thirties, and because of the daycare I had been providing in my home, decided I should pursue a degree in early education. By the time I finished my general education courses, I changed my mind. I no longer wanted a degree in early education, and did not know what degree I wanted.
Once again I quit college with a decision to return, once I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Many years went by and during those years I worked different low-level low-pay jobs. I began working for State Farm in the call center of the claims department in 2003. Although this position was also a low-level, low-paying job, I was enjoying learning the process of insurance claims and wanted to pursue a different position within the claims department. My supervisor encouraged me to go back to college because a degree would make me more competitive for higher positions within the company.
In the next couple years, I managed to receive a position in a different department, but still low level. I continued in this position for three years and during this time, I had interviewed for three positions that I did not receive because I lacked a degree. My supervisor again encouraged me to go back to college to acquire the problem-solving, written and oral communication skills I needed to advance within the company. My desire was to return to college but did not believe I could work full-time while going to college.
I shared this reasoning with my coworker who told me about the University of Phoenix, so I contacted the school and made an appointment. University of Phoenix’s accelerated program was the answer I needed. Each course was five weeks and I would take one course at a time. A program of study was my next dilemma as I never decided on this in the past. I did have a desire to work in the Special Investigative Unit in the claims department, so I spoke with a claim representative within that department who had a degree in Criminal Justice, and my choice was made.
The first class I took was GEN/300 Skills for Professional Development that helped me to understand a new way of learning. I was used to a traditional curriculum; study a textbook, then take a test. GEN/300 taught me the computer skills and the tools needed for this new way of learning. Instead of tests, I learned to write academic papers that illustrated that I understood the course information. My research skills were enhanced as I learned to go beyond the textbook and use the Internet to retrieve information needed for my assignments. I was also introduced to a learning team environment.
The learning team taught me how to work with different personalities to accomplish the same goal (University of Phoenix, 2008). In SCI/362 Environmental Issues and Ethics, the learning team assignment was a case study. Each week the learning team worked on a specific part of the case study that would build up to the final presentation for week five. This style of learning enhanced my written and oral communication skills as I worked with the team. The learning team learned to use each other’s strengths to put the presentation together (University of Phoenix, 2008).
The two core courses during my program of study that had the greatest effect on my potential employment are CJA/413 Ethics in Criminal Justice and CJA 423 Cultural Diversity in Criminal Justice. These two courses revealed to me that everyone does not perceive the world the same as I do. People who are from a different culture may have different ethics than I. This concept opened my understanding that I need to consider people’s cultures and ethics to communicate more successfully in professional settings.
This is an essential tool that everyone needs to be successful in the business world (University of Phoenix, 2009). My college experience with the University of Phoenix has been challenging at times but rewarding. The most challenging was the learning teams. Each team I was on seemed to face the same problem, which was to meet outside the classroom. Team member’s schedules conflicted, which made it difficult to meet to work on the team assignment. I believe the classroom setting should include mandatory learning team meetings. The meetings should be at the beginning or middle of the classroom time.
When time is given for learning team meetings during class, my experience has been that the professor gives the time at the end of class, and this has not been productive. Most of the class members have worked all day, and they are tired, so either they leave class early or they are not productive in the meetings. Online courses at University of Phoenix should be more affordable to students. This would help during times in a student’s life when he or she cannot make it to class. For example, a mother may have a sick child and whereas a mom cannot attend a class, a mom with a sick child could still attend class if the class is online.
Mom with a sick child is just one example of the many situations that come up in life that an online course would better serve the student than the classroom setting. As I discussed earlier in this paper, I work for State Farm in the Auto Claims Department and with my Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice my goal is to attain a position within the Special Investigative Unit. This unit works claims that may be fraudulent. I am taking online claim courses that my company provides for employees seeking a position in the SIU department, and I will continue to take courses on diversity and ethics.
Also I will seek a mentor within the department who can show me the correct steps I need to take as I move forward toward this goal. I am considering continuing my education to receive a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice. My goal with this degree is maybe later in life to be a college professor. I believe the future college will be primarily online, which will open many opportunities for professors to teach from anywhere at anytime. This paper reflected on my personal and professional growth during my Criminal Justice program of study at the University of Phoenix.
I discussed where I was before I began college at the University of Phoenix and evaluated the growth I experienced during my University of Phoenix program of study. In conclusion, I analyzed the impact of completing the University of Phoenix bachelor’s program on my current and future professional goals.
Reference University of Phoenix (2008). Program credits. Retrieved from https://ecampus. phoenix. edu/Program/Credits/Program University of Phoenix (2009). Program credits. Retrieved from https://ecampus. phoenix. edu/Program/Credits/Program