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Regional Faculty Focus: Stephen Kappeler

Regional Faculty Focus: Stephen Kappeler

Eastern Kentucky University has had a long-standing reputation for producing highly qualified graduates in the field of criminal justice. Thanks to Stephen Kappeler, the school of justice studies coordinator and EKU faculty member, this reputation continues to grow along with the program through an expansion into our regional campuses.

By being a part of the Regional Campus system, I have the opportunity to bring Eastern’s School of Justice Studies programming to students who may not have the option to participate in a traditional four year degree program on a centralized campus,” said Kappeler. “This promotes personal and regional growth in a way that might not be actionable otherwise.”

Kappeler has utilized the skills learned through obtaining his degrees to grow his program. He earned a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Radford University and completed his undergraduate studies in Criminal Justice Administration at Central Missouri State University.

Since becoming the school of justice studies coordinator in 2006, Kappeler has expanded the program to eight of our regional campuses. The School of Justice Studies has awarded 330 degrees since 2007.

Kappeler attributes his desire to grow the criminal justice program in an innovative way to his passion for higher education.

“Being passionate about education also means thinking critically about where and when educational opportunities occur,” said Kappeler. “We are also currently expanding our programming to non EKU sites: Cumberland, Middlesboro, and Whitesburg.”

Kappeler began expanding this program at non EKU sites through shared programming between those institutions and the School of Justice Studies. Each partnering school is part of the Southeast Community and Technical College System.

Kappeler continued, “as old economies expire it is crucial that we tap into the available human resources of our region.”

Kappeler hopes to encourage the growth of this program to reach all 22 counties that make up the EKU service region.

“We are already progressing our program into non EKU campuses, and I hope to expand our partnerships beyond the SECTCS and into other colleges and universities in the Region,” said Kappeler.

Expanding this program to reach more students in our service region aligns with Kappeler’s goal of making a difference in students’ lives.

“The further I progress in my teaching career, the more I realize how vital it is to reach every student,” said Kappeler. “The most rewarding aspect of this experience has been watching the students grow, not only through a single course or semester, but throughout their tenure in our program and beyond into their own careers.”

Kappeler also shows his passion for students through serving as academic advisor for Regional Campus students in the School of Justice Studies, and advisor to two student organizations, Alpha Phi Sigma and Lambda Alpha Epsilon.

Passion for both student success and higher education has afforded Kappeler recognition by the University through multiple awards, the most recent being the EKU award for teaching excellence in 2010.

When thinking toward the future of his career in higher education, Kappaler said, “As the program grows to include more students and faculty, I envision my role as a Coordinator expanding to a position more akin to a Chair of Regional Campuses, increasing our flexibility in offering ongoing education to students in the region.”

By: Sarah Carpenter, Intern

Office of Government Relations and Regional Stewardship

Published on July 22, 2015

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