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Prior learning for police studies recognized

By Janet Harron | Oct. 18, 2012

The program co-ordinator of the Faculty of Arts’ police studies program -- which includes a bachelor of arts, major in police studies, and a diploma in police studies -- has been awarded a 2012 Canadian Recognizing Learning Award by the Canadian Association for Prior Learning Association. 

As program co-ordinator, Anne Morris works closely with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC). Over time, she began to recognize that many officers interested in pursuing a degree had equivalent experience and/or credentials that could be applied toward their studies.

After investigating prior learning assessment programs at other universities and what was already being done at Memorial in the Faculties of Education and Nursing, Ms. Morris received the necessary support from the Faculty of Arts to pursue the development of a prior learning assessment recognition (PLAR) policy for local experienced police officers. 

“This policy was already in operation in both education and nursing and I received considerable support from very helpful people in the Office of the Registrar, Dr. Rob Shea, Gail Gosse (formerly of Lifelong Learning and now at College of the North Atlantic, Qatar) and Karen Kennedy (formerly of  Lifelong Learning, now special adviser to the deputy provost) when developing a PLAR proposal for the police studies program,” said Ms. Morris.

As a result of Ms. Morris’s commitment, a number of students from the RNC, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, military police and members of other police services have been able to apply for credit for prior work experience. Among these are RNC Deputy Chief William Janes and Constable Todd Barron, who will receive a BA in police studies at the Friday, Oct. 19, session of fall convocation.

Among Deputy Chief Janes' achievements are the Police Exemplary Service Medal, membership on several committees including the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Aviation Security Committee, the National Police Services Advisory Committee and the John Howard Society Board of Directors and is past chair of the United Way of Newfoundland and Labrador Community Investment Committee.

"Anne had a balanced, fair and open minded approach to the PLAR concept. PLAR allowed prior training at the Atlantic Police Academy, police colleges and my 27 years of policing experience to be considered in assessing prior learning. This provided me and with a realistic opportunity to reach my long-term goal of graduation from Memorial," said Deputy Chief Janes.

Constable Barron has received the Police Exemplary Service Medal, is a past president of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association, is a graduate of  the polygraph examiners course at the Canadian Police College and is currently the interviewing co-ordinator for the RNC; he has also developed and teaches investigative interviewing with Dr. Brent Snook in the police studies diploma program.

“I was actually a Memorial student before I was a member of the RNC, and after many years of police service I very much wanted to return to Memorial and finish what I had started in 1982. Anne was a great source of support and encouragement and assisted me with going through the PLAR process,” said Constable Barron. “Through Anne's efforts, I was able to get recognition for my years of experience and the training that I have received. I am very proud of this accomplishment in my life and it is certainly in no small part because of the help and foresight of Anne Morris that I am able to finally become a university graduate today. Thank you, Anne!” 

Ms. Morris was nominated for the award by Joan Butler of Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS).

“Anne is very committed to her role as police studies co-ordinator and will do whatever is necessary to see the program grow and prosper," said Ms. Butler. “In my role with DELTS, I’ve been working with Anne on the development of online courses for the police studies program and knew about her efforts to get prior learning assessment in place to allow police officers to get credit for their valuable experience and training.“