New Central degree in law and justice offered at GHC

Central Washington University will offer its law and justice bachelor’s transfer degree starting fall quarter through Grays Harbor College.

The program will prepare students for employment in the criminal justice system and/or entry into graduate or law schools. The program was approved late last week.

This is the first time the university is offering distance learning here with a hybrid of in-person, online and televised interactive classes according to Lucas Rucks, dual admissions director of the university.

“We are just really, really excited and we really hope to make this grow,” said the new GHC Assistant Dean of Baccalaureate Programs JEB Thornton. His first name is capitalized because he was born into a Southern family and named for the Confederate General J.E.B. Stewart. The periods were dropped along the way.

Rucks will be on campus Monday, June 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., to talk about the new degree opportunity and to help interested students with admissions paperwork. A meeting for employees betweeen second and third shifts at Stafford Creek Corrections Center will also be held to talk about the options the degree presents them.

“The size of this first bachelor’s degree class could mean additional classes taking place on our campus and eventually other Central bachelor’s programs as well,” said Thornton, who helped finalize the agreement.

The assistant dean is looking for 30 students to enroll. “If at least 25 students stick with the program, demonstrating a need, the university will add programs,” Thornton said.

If he gets more than that, students can start online and enter college in-person classes once the university adds them. “They are going to teach at least one on campus and look at teaching more.”

The goal is for the university to offer one or two in-person classes per term, Rucks said. Ideally, he wants to hire professors on the Harbor and not use an adjunct professor from the university’s campus in Pierce County.

The four-year program will help police officers, corrections workers and those who may want to add psychology classes for sociology-type degrees. “This offers real flexibility,” Thornton said. “It’s a great way to promote a four-year degree, it gives (students) so many options.”

The university plans three community meetings in the area, including a meeting with police officials, Rucks said.

The four-year degree can link directly to the university’s law and justice master’s degree, which is all online. Tuition for the university classes for in-state students will be more than the Grays Harbor College courses, which are $106.84 per credit for academic year 2013-14.

As juniors, or entering the Central program, GHC students must pay university tuition. The per-credit price for in-state students at Central is $264.70 with a minimum of two for $529.70. Tuition for the coming academic year of 2014-15 has not been posted on the university website yet, Rucks said, though he doesn’t expect an increase.

Other prospective dual admission degrees will tie in to work on the Harbor, Thornton said, using business management or hospitality as an example.

The college and university partnership is the first of many the university hopes to establish in rural communities. The university is also looking to connect with Peninsula College and colleges in Walla Walla and Spokane.

The campus meeting will be held in the HUB building in the Choker Dining Room. For more information, email at, or Rucks at or call the college 360-538-4022 or Rucks at 206-439-3866.

Erin Hart, 360-537-3932, Twitter: @DW_Erin


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