Criminal and community justice senior Andrew Kyle is an example of what happens when students become part of the Viterbo University network.
Nathan Casper, a Viterbo alumni and a patrol officer in the Town of Campbell, came to speak to Kyle’s freshman class. Casper spoke about his department’s reserve program and Kyle signed up for a volunteer position he’s now held for four years.
Impressed by what he saw, Casper then recommended that Kyle apply for a paid civilian service employee position with the La Crosse Police Department. Kyle got the job and has since clocked up two years of hands-on experience with the city’s police.
“There’s a chain effect here,” Kyle said. “Viterbo will introduce me to someone, they’ll introduce me to someone else, and it pays off.”
Kyle is from Neillsville, and, in addition to his criminal and community justice major, he’s minoring in servant leadership. He’s also in the ROTC, on top of his part-time job with the police department. It’s a hectic schedule, but he’s always felt supported at Viterbo.
“You have a one-on-one relationship with your professors here,” he said. “You’re not just another student in a class of 200 or 300, you’re one of a small class and the professors know all of your first and last names.”
The close relationship with faculty makes a big difference when students have questions or need help with a particular assignment, Kyle added.
“It’s beneficial, because especially in those classes where you might struggle, you’re able to feel more comfortable talking to them,” he said. “They know you, and then if you are struggling in the class they reach out; they’re just always looking out for you.
The criminal and community justice program at Viterbo immerses students like Kyle in a modern, cutting-edge, approach to policing that focuses on building relationships with local communities.
“We really focus on that community aspect,” Kyle explained. “Making people feel at home and comfortable, so they’re always willing to come and talk to you.”
Kyle’s criminal and community justice professors at Viterbo have included a former police officer, social worker and probation officer.
“The professors are really experienced in their area,” he said. “They know what they’re talking about because they’ve gone out and done it.”
From his first day on campus, Kyle said he was confident he’d finish his degree in four years, because of the support he received, both from professors and advisers.
“You won’t be left in the dust here,” he said. “For me, looking back, there was never one time that I was worried about failing class, and if I was struggling, I went and got help and after that I was fine.”
Kyle received scholarships from Viterbo to help pay for part of the education that wasn’t covered by the military, which he said was a big help.
“Apply for those scholarships, it is doable and for the good education you get, it’s definitely worth it,” he advised anyone thinking of studying at Viterbo.
Kyle noted that in addition to the support he’s received in the classroom, the entire campus experience at Viterbo has helped him to feel prepared to pursue his career path in law enforcement.
“We’ve got the academic resource center where you can go in and get your paper checked and tutoring services,” he said. “All that is free of cost and at a lot of other places, you’d be paying someone for that. Even if it’s a little amount, it adds up.”