EICC’s Criminal Justice program celebrates a successful start under the lead of Michael Birmingham
When it comes to Eastern Iowa Community Colleges’ Criminal Justice Program Director, Michael Birmingham, there is much more than meets the eye.
Picture this: You’re sitting across the table from Birmingham. He swiftly hands you his resume, filled to the brim with a list of various accolades and certifications. Upon first glance, your eyes jolt across the page to find bolded titles including: Professional Baseball Player, Deputy Sheriff, Internationally Certified Prevention Specialist, Bond Supervision Officer, Behavioral Health Consultant, Drug Recognition Expert, Non-Profit Founder & CEO, Juvenile Corrections Officer and Ordained Minister.
Then, you realize that’s just scratching the surface. At the very top of the resume, alongside his EICC Criminal Justice Program Director title, your eyes take in EICC Criminal Justice Instructor, too.
On a typical day, Birmingham can be found riding his bike along the river trails of the Quad Cities, sharing material via Twitter to help young, aspiring athletes or picking up a pencil to sketch a beautiful landscape.
However, his true passion is teaching.
“Every day I get to utilize my real-world working experience to ensure that students are well prepared and well aware of what they are getting themselves into when entering various roles in Criminal Justice,” said Birmingham.
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It’s this real-world experience, Birmingham explains, that likely landed him the job here at EICC.
“If you can think it, I’ve experienced it,” said Birmingham. “From first-hand car pursuits, officer-involved shootings to breaking up fights in a prison or jail setting. My students are able to benefit from hearing how things unfolded, how I responded and how it’s affected me, as well as those around me.”
Birmingham provides instruction at Scott Community College’s Urban Campus. His class roster includes Introduction to Corrections; Ethics in Criminal Justice; Juvenile Delinquency; Law Enforcement; Vice and Drug Control; and Criminology, as well as the Work-Based Learning (WBL) Career Exploration course for Government and Criminal Justice.
“For me, being able to oversee the startup of the Criminal Justice program was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Birmingham. “I was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, and I had only been to the Quad Cities once prior to relocating here.”
From day one, Birmingham hit the ground running. With solid enrollment numbers, plans are already underway to add a Criminal Justice Career Academy at Muscatine Community College for the fall 2022 term. EICC’s Career Academies allow high school students to earn college credit before high school graduation.
“I anticipate the Criminal Justice Career Academy to expand to the Clinton and Scott service areas as well over time,” he said. “The program really has potential to evolve into a multitude of offerings with regards to specializations once the curriculum is stabilized to represent the field as a whole.”
For those looking to pursue a career in criminal justice, or get started in EICC’S Criminal Justice program, Birmingham shares this advice.
“There are many opportunities the field presents after you get in and get your feet wet,” he explained. “Do your research, gain some familiarity, talk to working professionals, arrange a ride-along. Whatever you can do to better understand exactly what various roles consist of. Don’t think you have to only serve in one capacity to make a difference.”
About the Program
The Criminal Justice program prepares students to perform the duties of police and public security officers in law enforcement, corrections and judicial service. With curriculum backed by local law enforcement agencies, students will learn:
- Law enforcement patrol and investigative activities
- Traffic control
- Crowd control
- Public relations
- Witness interviewing
- Evidence collection and management
- Basic crime prevention methods
- Weapon/equipment operation and maintenance
- Report preparations
Award options for the program include the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree, a one-year Criminal Justice Diploma and a semester-long Criminal Justice Certificate. Students interested in a four-year Bachelor’s Degree can pursue our Criminal Justice Transfer Major.