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Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) has announced a partnership with Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) to offer classes towards a baccalaureate degree in criminal justice.

The School of Justice Studies (SJS) at EKU will offer classes on the Prestonsburg and Pikeville campuses of BSCTC towards a bachelors degree in criminal justice or police studies. Classes are set to begin on January 19, and EKU is currently accepting applications for the fall (August) semester.

We are excited about the opportunity and the possibilities of this program, said BSCTC President Dr. Devin Stephenson. This will provide our students the option to earn a baccalaureate and graduate degree close to home.

Kelli Hall, interim dean of technical education and workforce development, said the partnership with EKU validates the quality of BSCTCs criminal justice program and the partnerships it has built throughout the region.

The flexibility of the EKU program will allow both traditional and non-traditional students the opportunity to earn their degree close to home, said Hall.

Hall added that the partnership with EKU will help municipalities, counties and the United States Penitentiary Big Sandy in Martin County.

In addition to the federal penitentiary in Martin County, we have federal facilities in Ashland and Manchester, as well as a facility set to be constructed in Letcher County, said Hall. These programs will allow students to earn the credentials needed to have a rewarding career in law enforcement, corrections and support agencies.

Stephen Kappeler, coordinator of regional campuses for EKUs School of Justice Studies, said EKU will be offering courses for students pursuing a bachelors degree in criminal justice courses in a format that best suits them.

Our students at Big Sandy Community and Technical College can enroll in classes taught in traditional classrooms, by interactive television or through online courses, said Kappeler, senior lecturer and School of Justice Studies Coordinator of EKU Regional Campuses. Additionally, all courses will be taught by internationally recognized faculty from EKUs College of Justice and Safety EKUs Program of Distinction as designated by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

Kappeler added: Graduates of our School of Justice Studies go on to challenging careers in law enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels like the U.S. Secret Service, F.B.I, U.S. Marshals Service and social services. We are excited to begin this new enterprise. It will be a long and mutually beneficial partnership between EKU and Big Sandy Community and Technical College.

For more information on BSCTCs Criminal Justice program, contact Les Varney at (606) 889-4772 or email For more information on EKUs program in Prestonsburg and Pikeville, call 1-844-EKU-CJRC or visit