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Bellevue University: Real Learning for Real Life

With online, classroom, accelerated, cohort, course cluster and overseas instruction, Bellevue University offers convenient locations and flexible schedules to accommodate its students.

Through its College of Arts and Sciences, Bellevue University offers four bachelor’s and three master’s degree programs in Public Safety including Criminal Justice Administration, Security Management, Corrections Administration and Management, Investigations, and Public Administration. A private, non-profit university, its tuition rates are competitive with similar schools.

Greg Allen is one of the program directors for the Public Safety programs and says that Bellevue prides itself on its philosophy of “real learning for real life.” In his Security Management program, students range from those in law enforcement near retirement who are turning toward careers in the private security realm, to officers currently serving who want to gain expertise in homeland security and counter-terrorism (a part of the Security Management program). Allen says that all the programs in Public Safety are accelerated and are overseen by instructors who have work experience in their respective fields.

The Criminal Justice Administration program is offered in an accelerated, cohort-based format that has been especially designed for those who are already working in the criminal justice system and desire to advance their career potential. Managerial techniques, theories and methods are taught in-class and online. The Corrections Administration and Management program is also an accelerated, cohort-based format. Its curriculum includes the history and philosophy of corrections, research, management principles, fiscal management, risk management, and contemporary problems and issues in corrections. The program is offered in-class and online.

Bellevue’s Master of Business Administration degree program is the largest in Nebraska, offering 13 areas of concentration. The traditional classroom setting of one-way, teacher-to-learner lecture is replaced at Bellevue by research, class discussions, workplace projects and learning from peers, all under the instruction and supervision of faculty members who have real-world experience.

About 70 to 85 percent of the students in the Public Safety programs “attend” through the online format, he states, adding that Bellevue’s Security Management program is the largest in the U.S. He attributes that to the fact that there are many security management jobs in both the public and private sectors, with about 50,000 such jobs currently available to qualified applicants.

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Bellevue University. Tuition and fees are currently at $250 per credit hour for undergraduate classroom courses. Online tuition is currently $350 per credit hour, as are undergraduate accelerated cohort programs (classroom or online). Graduate classes, classroom or online, are $450 per credit hour. The library at Bellevue includes more than 105,000 volumes, 5,200 current periodicals and numerous electronic services.

Bellevue University was the first institution of higher learning in its region to offer this alternative style of education. The College of Arts and Sciences, of which the Public Safety programs are a part, emphasizes putting on-the-job business education to work.

With both academic theory and practical knowledge, the university considers its approach as leading edge, one that employs active learning as an emphasis, done through a diversity of methods and means. The Criminal Justice and Corrections programs have been in existence for more than 15 years, the Security Management program about seven years, and the Investigations program about three years.

Allen states that plans are well underway to begin a program in Emergency Management, probably by spring 2012. Furthermore, all the Public Safety programs will be brought under an aegis of a new “Center of Excellence” at Bellevue which will reach the public, private and military sectors and offer a full complement of programs for public safety. Allen states, “The key to our success is our accelerated program and having the instructors who have real life experience.”

Bellevue University is in Bellevue, Neb., with satellite locations in West Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, North Platte and McCook, Neb.; Kansas City Metro and Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Council Bluffs and Sioux City, Iowa.

Stephenie Slahor, Ph.D., J.D., writes in the fields of law enforcement and security. She can be reached at

Published in Law and Order, May 2011

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