Sean Parker: Police Captain, UC Adjunct Professor, Criminal Justice Advisor
Captain Sean Parker, Adjunct Professor and CJS Program AdvisorProgram Advisor & Adjunct Faculty
Cranston Police Captain Sean Parker was drawn to policing at an early age. Now, he guides students to follow their paths in the criminal justice field, working as a University College Criminal Justice Studies Program Advisor and teaching classes as an Adjunct Professor.
We recently talked with him about his experience at UC and the ways he helps his students and advisees maximize their potential.
How did you get involved with UC?
When I got promoted to sergeant, I started taking on instructor roles for the Cranston Police Department. I decided to put myself through law school, going part-time at night for four years. Once I went through that, I got more of a feel for the law and legal matters. I started teaching legal classes at the at the Police Academy, and then I started filling in at different schools.
This is my third or fourth year at UC. I started off teaching Paralegal courses and then I started focusing more on Criminal Justice classes. Then I got asked to be the program advisor, so now I do the advising for the Criminal Justice program.
How does your work experience help you serve UC students?
Working in the police and legal world, I have a pretty good feel for where students are coming from and in what direction they want to go. I help them decide what classes they want to take and how to best apply certificates, credits, and other classes they’ve taken to their degrees. I recently had a student who wanted to go to law school. I told her if she obtained a Paralegal Certificate with Roger Williams before law school, it would indoctrinate her into the legal world. Plus, she could work as a paralegal while in law school and work her way through law school that way. It would give her some skills, and once she was finished with law school, she would have experience in the legal world.
Do you often recommend the professional certificate programs?
I wish more students knew about the value of the professional certificates. The certificates are a great way to get specific skills in a certain field that you can apply to real-world situations, without paying the cost of a four-year or even a two-year degree. You can go to a potential employer and say, “I have this certificate to show that I was trained in this skill.” You can do it in a relatively short amount of time without a huge financial cost.
What is your favorite part of working at UC?
At University College, you teach people who are working, parenting, and going to school. You have to guide them through different situations. I enjoy trying to figure out real-world situations that people find themselves in, and helping guide them to get back on track with their academic goals. I had a student who fell off the grid for six weeks and I couldn’t get in touch with her. She was going to fail a class, but then I found out she had been deployed to an area without internet access. I got her caught up and back on track.
What advice do you have for UC students?
Be flexible, and try to get involved with the different areas the school offers. Get some training and specialized skills under your belt while going through the process of getting your degree by taking advantage of the professional certificate programs. You can get a bachelor’s degree while still obtaining a specialized certificate.