October 7, 2021

Faculty Q&A: Eric Kulberg

Kulberg is a Faculty Member and Chairperson for GBCC’s Criminal Justice Department

Eric Kulberg worked as a police officer for 10 years prior to joining Great Bay Community College, and is eager to impart his experience and knowledge during a time of unprecedented opportunity for people interested in careers in law enforcement. Kulberg, Criminal Justice professor and department chair, worked as a detective at the University of New Hampshire and seasonally with the Hampton Beach Police Department prior to joining Great Bay in 2019

Kulberg earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of New Hampshire and was writing his dissertation at UNH about the views of campus police officers on the legalization of marijuana when Great Bay lured him into academics. “My career goal was always to be a professor somewhere, and this opportunity came up,” he said.

Kulberg, who lives in Hampton, recently talked about the Criminal Justice program at Great Bay.

What distinguishes your program? What makes it successful?

“It’s a really great program because all of our instructors are practitioners or former practitioners. If you are looking to get immediately into the criminal justice field from your associate degree, you can do that and have connections in place because of our professors. Our program also provides the framework for a bachelor’s degree or an eventual law degree after completing a bachelor’s degree.”

Who are your students?

“We get a lot of traditional students just out of high school, and right now we have one young woman, still in high school, doing pre-college. We have some older folks with kids, who want to change careers. We do have a few who are already police officers, who are going back to school to better themselves and advance their careers. The days of high school-educated police chiefs are over. You need to get a degree to advance in the field.”

What type of careers are there in criminal justice these days?

“Your traditional ones – police officers and corrections officers, but we’re also seeing huge interest in Fish and Game Wardens. There are good careers in federal law enforcement, with the TSA, Customs and Border Protection. If you want to be a special agent, you need a bachelor’s degree. If you want to join the FBI or the Marshals Service, this is the starting point.

“A criminal justice degree is also a starting point for working in the court system, and you could also do things like victim witness advocate work. Law enforcement is always looking for good people, and nowadays there are tons of openings. It’s a good time with a lot of opportunity. A lot of people like the stability of government jobs – good pay and the benefits are good.”

Are there new courses or new points of emphasis in the curriculum?

“We are moving toward a more victim-centric viewpoint. We introduced a Victims Rights and Advocacy class, which introduces students to the field of victimology and the role of victims in the criminal justice process. Why do people get victimized? What happens when people are victimized? We also teach how to respond to victims, how to help them and how to direct them to resources that are available to them.”

You also oversee the Homeland Security certificate. What does that entail?

“It is designed to give people a very basic overview of homeland security itself, which involves emergency management, terrorism, and crisis planning. How do you respond to natural or human-made disasters? How do you manage it and how do you recover? The program is very timely as you can do it as a stand-alone certificate, or you can do it as a minor. If you are entering criminal justice, homeland security makes you more competitive in your field.”