By Tracy Clemons
SHREVEPORT, La (KSLA)- Excitement is in the air at Wiley College as it launches its first masters program: Administration of Justice.
"This degree entails administration of justice, criminology, law enforcement, you will have to take public administration courses," says the program's head, Tracy Andrus.
Don Burton is in the first cohort.
"When this program was mentioned, I went 'ah hah.' This is what I've been looking for."
He was planning to get a masters on line, but this was too good to pass up.
"It puts me in a position as a pastor, and as an administrator, to affect change. I am in the business of affecting permanent change," Burton says.
He serves as a mentor to young men. He believes this will give him the knowledge and credibility to help keep those young men out of the criminal justice system that he'll be learning about.
"I don't have to explain myself. They automatically know based on my credentials that I have made a sacrifice at my age, at this juncture in my life to go back and do something that most people when they're almost 60 will not do," he explains.
Wiley has been around since 1873, but it was made famous by the movie "The Great Debaters."
"There is a role that the 'Great Debaters' played in helping us to solidify this project. We've been working on getting a masters program here for over two years. So we started working on this really before the movie actually came out," Dr. Andrus says.
He adds that he's extremely optimistic about the future of the program.
"I anticipate some very good things happening to those students. I'm talking about as far as their careers are concerned."
Wiley's program is in collaboration with Texas Southern University. Classes will be taught by professors from both schools. At least for now, once students complete the degree it will actually be a TSU degree earned at Wiley.