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When I came to Calumet College of St. Joseph in July 2017, I was drawn by the programs that are serving those that serve others. Preparing students to serve others and the community can have a ripple effect that can’t always be measured, but can be meaningful to so many. There is no question about the impact a good teacher can have on a student and their future.

Calumet College of St. Joseph has been known as the teacher of teachers. In fact, CCSJ has one of the oldest teacher education programs in Northwest Indiana and the oldest Transition to Teaching program in the state. The transitions program is an accelerated program that allows those with a bachelor’sdegree to transition into becoming a teacher in 18 months.

During the last month, I have met two students who will transition into new teaching careers. One was a fairly recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in history and a passion for Socrates. She spoke of the impact her history teacher had on her, and she hopes to begin the transitions program in January.

The other was a woman well into her career in business and legal administration, but felt it was time for a career change. I could tell she was charting new waters when she arrived at our open house, but after talking with the program director and visiting a class, she left with a new direction.

Helping future teachers find their passion is one of the most rewarding ways to serve those who will end up serving and inspiring future generations. Education students at CCSJ can have a ripple effect on many.

It is always a joy to meet students and hear their stories and how they came to choose a college and area of study. There are times when the program of study is obvious, which is true for many in the Public Safety Management and Public Safety Administration programs.

Until a few years ago, Calumet College had the only public safety program in the Chicagoland area. There are over 3,000 public safety professionals who have a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree from Calumet College of St. Joseph. The faculty members have 350 years of combined experience in public safety.

It is another program that offers an accelerated format to work around the demanding schedules of our police and public safety officers. In 2019, the college will launch a new delivery option to allow students to attend classes via their computer at their home or place of work. Technology will make the program more convenient and accessible, which will help to expand the ability to serve those that are serving and protecting others.

With teachers and police officers there is a clear path to their career of service, but a degree in human services prepares students for entry into many social service fields. Since 1997, Calumet College has been offering a degree in human services. This program is also delivered in an accelerated manner using a hybrid approach with two hours of in-class time and one hour online. Internships give students valuable experience in the field at a variety of social service agencies in our community.

Our faculty members are also actively involved in the community with experience in private practice, in-patient psychiatric, community mental health, child advocacy, drug and alcohol counseling, child welfare, health care and the like. Students in the human services program have a strong desire to help others, and our graduates are working in the field and making a difference in people’s lives.

For those who have an interest in serving others, there is a tremendous need and a tremendous opportunity to have a positive impact on people and communities.

Last month we celebrated Veterans Day, and Calumet College is honored to serve veterans and their families as they further their education or pursue new careers. Calumet College of St. Joseph is recognized as a veteran-friendly school. Currently, we serve 25 veterans pursuing associate, bachelor's or master's degrees. We also have students that are active military or children of veterans.

Empowering students, social justice and an ethic of service are all components of our mission at Calumet College of St. Joseph. At this time of year, it is important to pause, recognize and thank those who lead a life of serving others. They are blessings to our children, our students, our communities, and our country.

Amy M. McCormack is president of Calumet College of St. Joseph. The opinions are the writer’s.