Twenty-one graduates from Northern Marianas College are the first to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. This accomplishment was possible through the “BSCJ 3+1” partnership between the college and the University of Guam that launched in May 2019.
“The structure of the program allowed students from the CNMI to continue their studies at home with minimal disruption to work and family life,” said Annette Santos, dean of UOG’s School of Business and Public Administration. “The success of the UOG-NMC partnership is credited to the excellent team of faculty and professional staff across both institutions."
Under the partnership, students complete three years of NMC coursework and one year of coursework from UOG. Through UOG’s online learning platform, the program gives students the opportunity and convenience of earning their bachelor’s degree without having to leave Saipan.
One of the graduates, Daniel Kintol, said the opportunity gave him the motivational boost he needed to go back to school and complete his degree.
“I really liked the support we received from the university. All the people that I encountered went out of their way to make me feel like a Triton. The learning environment and support from the university and professors was unlike anything I have seen or experienced before,” Kintol said.
Graduate Josephine Estrada said she chose to major in criminal justice because she wanted to make a change within the system.
“I felt that by attaining a degree in criminal justice, I would be able to instill a positive change for the community. My drive was further heightened as my experience and knowledge in the field grew,” Estrada said. “From Zoom [classes] to weekly discussion posts, it was a really fun and formative experience.”
The graduates received their UOG diplomas during NMC’s commencement ceremony on May 21, where they were presented in person by Ronald McNinch, UOG’s division chair for public administration and legal studies. UOG President Thomas Krise conferred their degrees virtually.
The graduates were also recognized at UOG’s Fañomnåkan Commencement Ceremony on May 23.
Following the program’s success, UOG is exploring other potential collaborations on degree programs between UOG and NMC and with other colleges in Micronesia.
“The success of this format is inspiring us at the School of Business and Public Administration to explore the possibility of offering other programs, such as the Master of Public Administration, accounting, and business administration as potential future offerings through similar articulation agreements,” Santos said.