Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee



Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Bryant & Stratton College: Master Plan Amendment to Authorize Bryant & Stratton College, Syracuse to offer an Associate in Occupational Studies (A.O.S.) Degree Program in Criminal Justice



February 24, 2006



Goals 2 and 4








Issue for Decision


          Should the Regents authorize amendment of the master plan of Bryant & Stratton College in order for the College to offer an Associate in Occupational Studies (A.O.S.) degree program in Criminal Justice at its Syracuse campus?


Reason for Consideration


           Required by State regulation.


Proposed Handling


          The question will come before the Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee at its March 2006 meeting, where it will be voted on and action taken. It will then come before the full Board at its March meeting for final action.


Procedural History


          Master plan amendment is required because this would be the College’s first program in the discipline of Social Sciences at the Syracuse campus.



Background Information


          Bryant & Stratton College is a proprietary institution authorized by the Board of Regents to operate in four areas in New York State: Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse.  Bryant & Stratton seeks to offer an A.O.S. degree program in Criminal Justice at its Syracuse campus. 


On December 9, 2005, the Regents authorized amendment of Bryant and Stratton College’s master plan to conduct the same curriculum in Criminal Justice at its campuses in Albany, Rochester and Buffalo.  Unlike Syracuse, a hearing had not been requested for those campuses as a result of the canvass of institutions.   


The proposed program must satisfactorily address a three-part planning test of (1) need, (2) potential effect on the proposing institution, and (3) potential effect on other institutions.  (1) Need has been shown in terms of first, the colleges’ need to adapt to changing markets; second, of student demand; and third, of the job market.  (2) The effect on the College would be to offset enrollment declines in the “once booming” technology disciplines, helping Bryant & Stratton maintain its current financial health.  (3) Two institutions, Onondaga Community College and Cayuga County Community College, had concerns about competition for students, competition for resources, and saturated or near-saturated job markets.  Staff observations on competition are discussed below in the Information in Support of Recommendation.


Since the mid-1970s, the Regents position has been that concerns over competition should not bar approval of new programs that meet quality standards and for which need is demonstrated.  The Department notes that the proposed campus of instruction, located in downtown Syracuse, is likely to attract significant numbers of minority group members sought by criminal justice agencies.




The Department has determined that the program meets the standards for registration set forth in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.


It is recommended that the Board approve the amendment of the master plan of Bryant & Stratton College, Syracuse, main campus, effective March 21, 2006, authorizing the institution to offer the A.O.S. program in Criminal Justice at its Syracuse campus.  This amendment will be effective until March 31, 2007, unless the Department registers the program prior to that date, in which case master plan amendment shall be without term.   


Timetable for Implementation


          If the Regents approve the master plan amendment, the Department will register the program.  Bryant & Stratton College would begin offering it at the authorized campus in the semester following registration.  The Department will conduct a follow-up review of the program’s implementation, impacts and outcomes.


Information in Support of Recommendation


The Department received Bryant & Stratton College’s proposal for this program on January 13, 2005; it received additional information in February.  It canvassed other colleges in the Central New York region from March 9 until March 31.  Comments were received from SUNY Binghamton (no objection) and from Onondaga and Cayuga Community Colleges (a joint oppositional response dated March 22, 2005).  The presidents of the two community colleges jointly requested a regional public hearing on this proposal. 


A hearing was conducted in Syracuse on December 12, 2005 in response to that request.  Regent Bottar chaired the hearing.  Presentations were made by 12 persons.  Eight presentations supported approval of the proposed program; three presentations opposed approval.  Supporters included a Bryant and Stratton system administrator and student, two members of the New York State Legislature, two representatives of local employers (The Madison County Sheriff’s Office and Probation Office and the Syracuse City Police Department), a representative of the Madison County BOCES; a retired SUNY Oswego faculty member nationally active in the development of Criminal Justice curricula, and a representative from a major textbook publisher in the field of Criminal Justice. Those speaking in opposition were administrators and faculty from Onondaga Community College and Cayuga County Community College.


          Opponents noted that the Syracuse region had a number of programs in Criminal Justice (including those at the two community colleges) and that there was no student demand.  In addition, employment needs are more than met by current college suppliers in their view.  Third, there are a limited number of internships available at a given time, requiring existing institutions to limit student enrollment in this component of their programs.  Supporters of the proposal indicated, based on their experiences, that there is sufficient unmet need and opportunity to support the proposed program, including availability of internships and jobs.  As noted elsewhere in these materials, the Department concluded that the internship opportunities and job market in the central region of New York are not so limited that students who might enroll in the proposed program would have little prospect of completing an appropriate internship or attaining employment in a Criminal Justice related field. 


Academic Review


A.       Institutional Information.  Bryant & Stratton College is a proprietary higher education institution authorized to operate colleges in four areas in New York State: Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse.  It is authorized to award the Associate in Occupational Studies (A.O.S.) degree in all four areas and the Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) degree at the campuses in the Buffalo area.  The Colleges’ programs are directed principally toward job and career preparation; they fall in the discipline areas of Business, Engineering, the Fine Arts, the Health Professions, and the Physical Sciences in the New York State Taxonomy of Educational Programs.


          In the fall of 2004, enrollment at all Bryant & Stratton New York campuses was 3,437 students (ranging from 625 students at Buffalo’s main campus to 201 at Rochester’s main campus).  Bryant & Stratton reports that over 80 percent of its students are adult learners, with an average age of 27.  Seventy percent of the students are female.  It reports that over 90 percent of its graduates attain jobs in their career field.


B.       Curriculum.  The stated goal in all of Bryant & Stratton’s programs is to provide “outcomes based education and training in a flexible and contemporary curriculum.”  The proposed A.O.S. program in Criminal Justice would require completion of 63 credits, including 36 in the major and 27 in general education.  The curriculum is designed to provide a blend of theory and practical application.  It builds on an existing base of general education and business courses.  It includes a “career core” of five courses:  Introduction to Information Literacy and Research, Human Relations, Critical Thinking, Career Management and an Internship/Capstone Experience.  This core is designed to impart general management skills.


Within Criminal Justice, students may specialize in corrections, policing, or security.  Criminal Justice courses include Introduction to Criminal Justice, Corrections, Correctional Administration, Criminal Courts, Criminal Law, Criminology, Cybercrime, Ethics in the Criminal Justice Environment, Policing, Police Management, Security Management, and an Internship. 


C.              Students.  Bryant & Stratton reported the following fall 2005 enrollment at its

campus in Syracuse:         Full-time: 309          Part-time:  328        Total: 637


Bryant & Stratton anticipates enrolling 15-20 new students each semester in the proposed program in Criminal Justice at this campus.  It anticipates 45-50 students per semester by the fifth year of operation.  It also anticipates that many of the students will be adult learners and that most will be male. 


D.       Faculty.  Bryant & Stratton has, at its Syracuse campus in New York, a satisfactory core of full-time faculty, supplemented by adjuncts.  In the fall of 2005, the campus had 14 full-time and 40 part-time faculty. Two full-time faculty members with master’s degrees in Criminal Justice and appropriate professional experience are being hired for the proposed program at the Syracuse campus. The programs would be registered following receipt of the appropriate faculty resumes. Additional Criminal Justice specialists will be engaged as the curriculum is implemented. 


E.       Resources. Bryant & Stratton is a financially responsible institution.  Its enrollments in New York have been stable over the last several years.  The Syracuse campus has sufficient space and equipment to accommodate the proposed program.  Facilities are in satisfactory condition.  With regard to library resources, Bryant & Stratton has recently completed a substantial expansion of its database access for course assignments and is committed to developing a core print collection in Criminal Justice in support of the courses in the curriculum. 


F.       Program Registration.  The Department has determined that the proposed program, if approved, will meet the standards for registration set forth in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.


Planning Review


G.      Need.


i. Institutional Need.  Bryant & Stratton sees the proposed program as needed to offset enrollment declines in the “once booming” technology disciplines.  Although overall enrollment at the Syracuse campus has not declined (it was 637 in the fall of 2005), enrollments in information technology courses declined from a high of 141 in the fall of 2002 to 77 in the fall of 2005 at that campus.


ii. Demand by Potential Students.  According to the application, substantial numbers of potential students inquire about the availability of a Criminal Justice program at Bryant & Stratton Colleges.  The two Syracuse area campuses receive about 50 inquires per year.


Table 1 shows employment in Criminal Justice occupations in 2002 and projected employment in 2012 – nationwide and statewide.


Table 1


Employment in Criminal Justice







Change in Number

Percent of Change

Probation Officers





Police/Sheriff Officers










Law Enforcement Workers





Security Guards





Correctional Officers





Other Protective Service Workers






These occupations are not among those projected to have either the greatest growth or the largest number of openings in New York.  However, they are among those projected to experience growth in addition to replacement.  The New York State Labor Department estimates that in the central New York region “a qualified jobseeker would have a reasonable expectation of obtaining employment when the economy in the region is at or near full swing.” 


Bryant & Stratton surveyed 50 employers in the fields of law enforcement, corrections, courts, private security, and such civil service fields as victim, juvenile, and family services.  Of the respondents, 43 percent expected to hire 1 to 5 Criminal Justice professionals each year.  Fifty-eight percent anticipated a need for Criminal Justice professionals within the next five years. 


H.       Effect on the Institution.  Following a review of recent audits, the Department has determined that Bryant & Stratton College is a financially responsible institution. 


          Bryant & Stratton states that the proposed program would offset recent and prospective enrollment declines at its campuses in information technology.


I.        Effect on Other Institutions.  Bryant & Stratton, Syracuse is located in the Regents central higher education region.  The possible effects on programs in other institutions in this region are discussed below.


J.       Discussion.  The objecting institutions raised concerns about (i) competition for students; (ii) competition for resources; and (iii) saturated or near-saturated job markets.


i.        Competition for Students.  Differences between Bryant & Stratton College and the objecting institutions should mitigate potential competition for students.  Bryant & Stratton’s campuses are much smaller than those of the concerned institutions, Onondaga Community College and Cayuga County Community College.  The proposed program is likely to attract students seeking a small college environment rather than a large one.  There is overlap in the geographic origins of students at the Bryant & Stratton campuses and at the concerned colleges.  The concerned institutions are community colleges with resident tuition and fees only 25 to 30 percent of Bryant & Stratton’s and are available to students for whom “sticker price” is important.  Finally, the differences between the proposed A.O.S. program and the objecting colleges’ A.S. and A.A.S. programs suggest that students seeking a less job- and career-driven curriculum might be attracted to other institutions.


          ii.        Competition for Resources.  This issue was raised with respect to a potentially limited number of internship sites for students in the Syracuse area.  It is not clear whether an agency may wish to cease working with a college offering a Criminal Justice program with which it has an established relationship in order to accommodate interns from a new program.  At the December 12, 2005 hearing, speakers from the Syracuse police department, Madison County criminal justice agencies, and Syracuse area law firms suggested availability of internships for Bryant and Stratton’s students.  It was evident that Bryant and Stratton (1) has a network of existing relationships with potential internship organizations and (2) the development of internships is, to a substantial degree, an outcome of initiative and effort.            


iii.       Job Market Saturation.  Two institutions questioned the local job market’s ability to absorb additional graduates.  However, the State Labor Department projects growth between 2002 and 2012 in the central New York labor market in employment of Corrections Officers, Police Officers and Detectives, and Private Detectives and Investigators.  The job market appears likely to have enough job openings each year through 2012 to absorb the limited number of projected graduates of the proposed program as well as those of existing programs. On a statewide basis in the projected 10 years (2002-2012), the percent of increase in police and sheriff patrol officers is 15.4%, detectives 10.4%, correction officers 1.4%, and probation officers 5.5% (New York State Labor Department, 2005). Testimony from law enforcement officials and representatives of the legal profession and others at the December 12, 2005 regional hearing confirmed these projections of continuing substantial demand in a variety of law enforcement related positions.  This conclusion was not endorsed by representatives from Onondaga Community College and Cayuga County Community College, who were of the opinion that employment needs could be met by existing programs and institutions.  The Department believes that the numbers of prospective Bryant and Stratton graduates are too low to have a significant impact on projected supply/demand in this field.