April 21st, 2022

Averett University today announced its partnership with the Martinsville-based Piedmont Regional Criminal Justice Training Academy (PRCJTA) to serve as the academy’s only higher education satellite site in Virginia. The two organizations held an opening and signing ceremony today at Averett’s Riverview Campus.

With its remote instructional technology already in place for the Averett Online academic programs, the University will host Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services-approved class offerings and specialized trainings for local law enforcement needing to complete required continuing education programs. Oftentimes, officers need to stay close to their beat areas and still be on call while undergoing these trainings, and the reduced travel will minimize the financial impact on agencies.

Course offerings will begin at Averett this June, and starting with legislative updates. Future course topics like crisis intervention, conflict resolution and implicit bias training could be offered, pending DCJS approval.

“Innovative partnerships are a top focus of Averett’s strategic priorities, and this expanded relationship with Piedmont Regional Criminal Justice Training Academy represents just that,” said Averett President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks. “We are grateful to the academy for entrusting Averett to facilitate these critical trainings for our community’s first responders, and we are proud to work further with those who help keep our campuses and region safe. I think this speaks to the University’s reputation in this space, and demonstrates the deep relationships we have in the community and within the field of criminal justice.”

The Piedmont Criminal Justice Training Academy is one of 11 regional academies in the Commonwealth of Virginia serving approximately 845 law enforcement, jail, civil process, courtroom security and dispatchers personnel, and is led by two Averett alumni.

“At the academy, we are working to ensure relevancy and continue offering leading-edge criminal justice training and development to ensure our area law enforcement personnel are well trained and prepared to provide exceptional service to the communities they are sworn to protect,” said Matthew Carter ’95, executive director of PRCJTA. “We chose Averett as a partner in this important endeavor because of the relationship between training, education and professionalism. If an in-service member of law enforcement decides to continue his or her education as a result of being exposed to Averett’s campus environment, then everyone wins.”

The new arrangement will open up additional opportunities for Averett faculty members to develop curriculum and training programs for law enforcement officers.

“The further formalizing of Averett’s association with the Piedmont Regional Criminal Justice Training Academy further solidifies our partnership and commitment to our public safety community,” said Dr. James Hodgson, professor and program director of Averett Online’s sociology/criminal justice program. “Averett has been an innovative leader in facilitating and merging criminal justice training and education, and this new relationship allows us to take that ever further.”

Partnerships between the academy and Averett are not new. The two penned an articulation agreement in 2018 allowing PRCJTA graduates to transfer up to 28 academic credits  from the academy into Averett. Additionally, academy graduates are entitled to an Averett Tuition Reduction Scholarship Program which reduces their tuition almost 20%. PRCJTA is also an active participant and member Averett’s Danville Regional Criminal Justice Advisory Board.

Averett is the only Virginia college or university to have official relationships with all 11 criminal justice agencies in the Commonwealth. These educational partnerships allow academy graduates to matriculate to Averett to further expand their education in criminal justice.

Averett’s criminal justice department offers a Bachelor of Science in sociology and criminal justice both online and in-person, as well as an online Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration and Leadership.