Imagine embarking on your graduate education as a member of a team of dedicated professionals with similar goals and interests. Imagine that you’ll know that these are people you’ll work alongside throughout your program, beginning to end, supporting and challenging one another, learning from each other and becoming invested in each other’s success.
That’s exactly that what six Waterbury, Connecticut police officers did back in 2019, when they decided to enter Post University’s Master of Public Administration program. Working as a team comes naturally to those in law enforcement, and it was as a team concept kept the ‘Waterbury Six’ moving through the program. In 2021, they earned their degrees, just as they began, together.
Cohort-based learning is a collaborative learning style where students take the same classes at the same time and graduate together. It is especially well-suited for students with similar professional goals and interests, making it an ideal choice for law enforcement professionals.
Watch this video where Cassandra and Jason and their Waterbury Police Department classmates, James Canale, Larry Hoffler, Jr., Fernando Lucas, and Stefano Mauriello share insight on attending school together.
Being part of a cohort can help ease the anxiety of entering graduate school by providing students with a structured, supportive, peer-to-peer learning environment. This extra layer of connectivity is important in online courses for students who value social interaction and collaboration with peers over self-paced learning.
Offering a final perspective on her experience as a member of the group, Cassandra Drogan commented that having fellow officers in class made all the difference. “We learned about teamwork, collaboration, and the desire to keep pushing for the benefit of all of us while working through our own personal and professional challenges and obstacles.“ Another group member, Jason Fusco, thanked his classmates “for the encouragement and help along the way.”
Post University is proud of its strong relationship with the City of Waterbury and to be the under-graduate and graduate school of choice for Waterbury police officers. Students and alumni come from all ranks, and include the department’s former chief Vernon Riddick and the new appointed Naugatuck Police Chief Colin McAllister is also a graduate of the MPA program. There are at least seven graduates of the program who hold the title Chief of Police in their community.
According to MPA Program Chair Cynthia Anger, “police officers are among our most accomplished students. They are highly motivated and committed to their coursework. As the group’s Capstone advisor, I can say that it was a pleasure to work with these students.”