WALESKA — A Cherokee County native has been appointed to lead Reinhardt University’s new criminal justice program.
Dr. Karen Padgett Owen of Canton was chosen to head up the school’s new Master of Public Administration-Criminal Justice program through its School of Mathematics and Sciences, the university announced this week.
An information session is tonight at 6:30 p.m., at Reinhardt’s North Fulton Center in Alpharetta for those interested in the program.
Owen’s experience working the last 10 years in the political science arena led her back to serve her hometown with plans to utilize her “own research and practical political knowledge to create a solid and reputable program and to enlighten the classroom learning experience for all students,” a news release from the university said.
“I am truly thrilled to be joining Reinhardt because of its mission to provide sound liberal arts education and resourceful and practical graduate education,” Owen said. “The MPA-CJ program is a great addition to Reinhardt’s graduate program offerings, and I am excited to help start the program and build its future success.”
Most recently employed as an instructor through the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia in Athens, Owen has also served as an editorial associate for the Journal of Politics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, as a public health and legislative analyst for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and as a legislative assistant for then-U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal in Washington, D.C.
Owen is a member of the American, Midwest, Southern and Georgia Political Science associations. She earned a doctorate in political science in 2012, a Master of Public Administration in 2004, and a Bachelor of Arts in 2001, all from The University of Georgia. Owen is a 1998 alumna of Cherokee High School.
“I am enthusiastic about initiating a program that will provide professional working knowledge and skills advancement for many public sector and nonprofit sector professionals in our community,” said Owen. “I want this program to recruit the best and brightest students from our region and become state and nationally recognized as providing sound and practical knowledge and resources for public servants. My earnest goal is that this MPA program will provide the necessary theoretical knowledge of the political workings of administration within public and nonprofit organizations as well as the practical skills professionals will need to be strong and effective administrators within their chosen career field.”
Reinhardt, its Police Academy and nearby agencies have worked together to create the graduate program.
The MPA will be readily accessible to many of the Northern Arc municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies, school leaders said.
The MPA will be led by experienced faculty with extensive teaching and field experience who will supplement textbook knowledge with practical skills and real life lessons.
“Reinhardt’s MPA program will provide a focused graduate curriculum for those who desire to advance in public safety and law enforcement administration,” said Owen. “While other MPA programs in the state offer general administration and policy concentrations, the Reinhardt MPA, with a criminal justice concentration, will meet demands espoused by many in the suburban Atlanta area for graduate level MPA education at a location near county/city public law enforcement agencies. We can offer students and professionals interested in criminal justice the specific classroom and practical experience for public safety administrative work in a suburban campus environment.”
In each of the two eight-week terms of the semester, class will meet once a week Tuesdays from 6 to 10:50 p.m.
There also will be a simultaneous online class for the whole semester.
The program is designed to facilitate an active learning environment between the students and government/nonprofit professional entities within the community.
Visit www.reinhardt.edu /MPA for more information.