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Mercer Reformulates Criminal Justice
into Public Safety Degree

July 21, 2009

Media Contact:
Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

Admissions Contacts:
Atlanta and Macon - Amanda Bentley, (678) 547-6554 

Henry County - Stephen Jenkins, (678) 547-6436
Douglas County - Tammy Collins, (678) 547-6493

Mercer University’s College of Continuing and Professional Studies will launch a reformulated undergraduate major in public safety this fall. The program expands upon the College’s successful major in criminal justice in order to better serve current and future public safety officials. The new public safety program will launch this fall at four of the College’s locations: Atlanta, Macon, Henry County and Douglas County.

The changes to the degree mirror the changing landscape of public safety, which has shifted from distinctive emergency services such as law enforcement, fire and emergency response into a more cohesive and professionalized framework. With new threats demanding an integrated response, this new degree will help train a new breed of cross-trained professionals. Included in the new coursework for this program are courses in homeland security, cyber security, forensics, emergency management, terrorism, leadership and multi-cultural issues.

The degree is designed with public safety officials in mind, with courses online and in the evenings providing maximum flexibility. Students can choose to take most courses in person, online or in a hybrid format.

“In order to best prepare our graduates for new public safety challenges, we revised our current foundation courses to provide a much broader base of knowledge,” said Dr. V. Lynn Tankersley, assistant professor of public safety and one of the degree’s designers. “The response from public safety agencies and professionals has already been tremendous.”

Recognizing the need for continued education in this complex field, the Technical College System of Georgia partnered with Mercer to allow graduates from its associate degree programs in criminal justice to complete a “Plus 2” program at Mercer. Under the new articulation agreement, qualified applicants can earn a Bachelor of Science in Social Science, majoring in public safety, in two years.

Like the criminal justice major it replaces, the public safety major will lead to a Bachelor of Science in Social Science. The degree builds on the College’s expertise in the public safety field. The College offers the Public Safety Leadership Institute, a leadership development program for public safety officials, and the Master of Science in Public Safety Leadership, a degree program for public safety officials looking to advance into leadership positions.

For more information on admission to the program, contact:
Atlanta and Macon - Amanda Bentley, (678) 547-6554 or
Henry County - Stephen Jenkins, (678) 547-6436 or
Douglas County - Tammy Collins, (678) 547-6493 or

About The College of Continuing and Professional Studies:
The College is committed to meeting the educational goals of working adults. The College offers undergraduate degree programs in organization leadership, public safety, liberal studies, human resources administration and human services, and graduate programs in counseling, school counseling and public safety leadership. Its programs are offered on Mercer’s Macon and Atlanta campuses and at the University’s regional academic centers in Henry County, Douglas County and Eastman.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has approximately 7,600 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
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