Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Hal Knight

Committee Members

Don Good, Jennifer Pealer, Jasmine Renner


The purpose of this study was to examine whether police officers perceive higher education to be important in improving their job performance and promotional opportunities, whether the perception of higher education varied by several independent variables, and the types of suggestions that officers might have for improving the college curriculum. Independent variables included gender, age, level of education, type of police agency, academic major, years of service as a police officer, and job duty. The dependent variable was scores on 3 dimensions: general attitude toward higher education, perceived utility of a criminal justice related degree, and career-related competencies.

A 34- item survey was administered to police officers from five departments in Spring 2017. There was a 40.53% response rate with a total of 216 completed surveys. Descriptive statistics, independent-samples t tests, one way analysis of variance tests, and Pearson r coefficients revealed a mixed view of the perceived value of higher education. Officers who had completed bachelor's degrees and those officers employed by municipal agencies had a significantly more positive perception of higher education. No significant differences were found between the independent variables and the perceived value of a criminal justice related degree or the importance of career-related competencies. This study also found several common suggestions for improvement to the higher education curriculum, including more hands-on experience, instructors with experience as law enforcement officers, and improved writing and interpersonal communication skills.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.