The Charger Blog

University’s Henry C. Lee College Earns National Recognition for Several Signature Programs

College Factual has ranked the University #1 in the country out of more than 400 colleges and universities offering homeland security, law enforcement, and firefighting majors and #1 in the state and #18 in the country for criminal justice and corrections degrees.

April 16, 2020

By Susan Dowd, Office of Marketing and Communications

Lee College Students
Students in the Lee College.

William Pillsworth ’22 had been toying with the idea of studying environmental science at another university but found himself being pulled more and more strongly in another direction: the field of homeland security. Once he identified his career field, the choice of a university was much more of a no-brainer.

“The University of New Haven is one of the few universities in the country that has a Homeland Security and Emergency Management degree,” he said. “One of the main reasons I joined this program was because many of the professors were retired from government agencies and have real-world experience.”

His choice of major dovetails perfectly with another facet of Pillsworth’s college career: He is currently a cadet in the University’s Army ROTC program. The two programs — Homeland Security & Emergency Management and ROTC — are working together to expand Pillsworth’s opportunities. The first-rate leadership training he acquires in ROTC and his subsequent Army career will serve him well in his chosen field.

“A military background is looked upon very favorably in the field of homeland security and emergency management,” he explained

In addition, a degree in homeland security and emergency management is much in demand and will make it easier to land a job, post military, according to Pillsworth. His career goal? Working within the FBI as a special agent.

What does Pillsworth think of the program? “I love it!” he enthused. “It has already made me think in ways I have never had to think before. All of my professors are very good. Each one of them relates what we are learning in the classroom to real-world issues and disasters.”

‘A leader in public service education’

College Factual’s most recent rankings support Pillsworth’s favorable opinion of his major. The go-to resource for college students recently rated the University

College Factual’s rankings for colleges and universities offering homeland security, law enforcement, firefighting, criminal justice, and corrections majors, were based on a combination of factors, including overall quality of the programs and mid-career earning statistics.

“The Henry C. Lee College has always prided itself on being a leader in public service education, said David A. Schroeder,” acting dean of the college. “To be ranked number one in the country for homeland security, law enforcement, and firefighting, and as one of the top programs in the nation for criminal justice and corrections, speaks to the level of excellence we expect from ourselves here at the University of New Haven. Being recognized on a national level by College Factual serves as further evidence that our commitment translates to student success.”

Added Mario T. Gaboury, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and former dean of the Lee College, “There is a growing need for public safety, national security, and law enforcement professionals with highly advanced technical skills and field experience, and we’re preparing students to fill those needs as soon as they enter the workforce. Our students are especially well-prepared to hit the ground running, especially when they’ve had an opportunity to work in our centers and institutes — and on faculty research projects.”

William Pillsworth '22
William Pillsworth '22.
‘I would not be in my current job without the University of New Haven’

Lee College graduate Ryan Lavelle ’16 says he found his criminal justice major to be something of a revelation.

“The program is so broad that it really gives you a look into dozens of careers paths,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect when I attended my first class at the University. I was just out of the Marine Corps, and I figured criminal justice was for police officers. I had no idea of all of the fields that open up to you with a criminal justice degree. I would never have known that criminals use life insurance policies to launder money.”

Today, Lavelle is a compliance analyst with the Knights of Columbus, responsible for all compliance analytics projects that support anti-money laundering and anti-fraud efforts.

He sees a direct connection between his present success and the B.S. in Criminal Justice, with a concentration in International Justice and Security, he earned through the University’s Lee College.

“I would not be in my current job without the University of New Haven,” he declared. "While I was a student, I was offered the opportunity to work for what is now the Center for Analytics, and it was there that I got hooked on the power of large data sets and the ability data has to answer tough questions. During one project, I was tasked with tracking cash seizure and forfeitures from drug traffickers."

“I really valued the faculty and their experience,” he continued. “Every professor came from the field and worked their incredible experiences into what they taught in the classroom. Every class is like on-the-job experience. The professors learned by doing it themselves, and, as students, we learned from their experience.”

The Programs That Brought in the Awards: