The University of Indianapolis Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice has added two new concentrations, as well as a new minor, to its curriculum. Loss prevention and cybersecurity are the two new concentrations in the criminal justice major, and loss prevention is also a new minor.
Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Kevin Whiteacre said that these two new focuses within criminal justice blend together well with other fields of study.
“Essentially, it’s [loss prevention] almost kind of a business minor within the criminal justice core,” Whiteacre said. “Cybersecurity is essentially a computer science minor within the criminal justice core as well.”
Although both of these concentrations were added for this fall semester, Whiteacre said that the department is mainly focusing on loss prevention this semester, using it as a “trial run” to see how everything works.
According to the curriculum pattern sheet for both new concentrations, students can expect to take a variety of courses in different fields. Some courses that are required are based on things like mathematics, communication and sociology. Whiteacre said he is eager about the Loss Prevention Qualified Certification course, which is a requirement of the minor and concentration.
“It’s an online curriculum that you get certified as an LPQ,” Whiteacre said. “We take you through that, and then you take the certification test at the end of the semester. That gives you a real advantage on the job market for loss prevention.”
Whiteacre believes that these two new concentrations, as well as the new minor, are beneficial to everyone, even those not in criminal justice.
“I think it would be worth their while to look at the loss prevention minor as a way of broadening their options and sort of expanding their educational experience while they are here,” Whiteacre said. “You get a nice blend of business and criminal justice stuff that I think will help you with whatever you do in the future.”
Jennifer Smith, assistant director for nonprofit management, public service and social services, is helping Whiteacre reach out to the community for possible internship opportunities.
“What I’m doing is identifying the organizations that have a multifaceted approach towards loss prevention specifically,” Smith said. “[I’m] looking for opportunities for our students to be leaders in that field, as well to be able to train, to manage and to look at from a total aspect.”
After speaking with Whiteacre and developing some criteria for what an internship needs to have, Smith began reaching out to companies such as Kroger, Target, TJX and Amazon. Smith said these companies in particular fit the criteria, because they have larger loss prevention departments.
“We’re looking for organizations that have the ability for our students, upon graduation, to either start at the ground level or maybe go to departmental, store, regional or national, in terms of loss prevention,” Smith said.
Smith considers the partnership between the community and UIndy a significant factor in internship success.
“I believe that the continued community partnership is very important,” she said. “UIndy, under President [Robert] Manuel, is putting their footprint on the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana.”
Junior criminal justice major Logan Britton decided to switch his concentration to loss prevention. Britton was planning to move to a business major, but loss prevention had many benefits.
“I wanted to switch my major, but if I wanted to graduate on time, it was going to be too late [credit wise],” Britton said. “It [loss prevention] was the next best thing, because it’s like the criminal justice degree meets [the] business degree.”
On Tuesday, Oct. 13, a panel in UIndy Hall A at 2 p.m. featured loss prevention professionals who explained their jobs and why the field is so important in this increasingly technological age. Next semester, Whiteacre hopes to have a similar panel, but focusing on cybersecurity.