Dealing with crime requires the coordination and cooperation of several disciplines and institutions at the local, provincial, national and even global level.
To succeed in a career in criminology, students must be exposed to those disciplines and institutions as much as possible. This also included speaking with those most affected by and involved with crime, its prevention, corrections and management.
According to CNC Criminology instructor Eric Tompkins, that’s exactly what the College of New Caledonia aims to do.
“We regularly invite guest speakers to talk to our classes,” he said. “We have everyone from police and probation officers to judges and ex-inmates talk to the students.”
Students also get a chance to leave the classroom to learn.
“In one course, Intro to Corrections, we’ll visit youth and adult wilderness camps,” Eric said. “These aren’t prisons but they are corrections facilities. Students learn so much by talking to the people there. It’s fascinating.”
The field of Criminology is fascinating as it allows students to look at the problems of crime in so many ways.
“It’s not only about policing and the causes of crime,” Eric said. “It’s also about the social definitions of what crime is and who has the power to make laws.”
After completing the two-year criminology diploma at CNC, many students go on to complete their criminology degree at Simon Fraser University (SFU).
“The CNC program articulates perfectly with the SFU degree program," Eric said.
That’s exactly what he did more than three decades ago. After graduating from the CNC criminology program, he completed both his bachelor’s and master’s degree in Criminology at SFU.
Eric was a previously a construction worker in Vancouver before a recession left him unemployed. When he and his wife moved to Prince George, he studied criminology at the suggestion of Ken Parker, the current CNC Criminology instructor.
“At first I wasn’t particularly interested but thought maybe there would be something practical at the end of it,” he said.
Not only did Eric feel totally engaged with what he learned in CNC’s criminology program, he was good at it. And there was something for him at the end of it – a job at CNC teaching what he loves.
“Today, there’s plenty of work and opportunity – especially now because a lot of people in the work force are at retirement age,” he said. “Graduates can pursue a variety of professions – law, social work, police work, corrections – whatever they want.”