How Shannon Holubetz rediscovered the joy of learning

Shannon Holubetz
Shannon Holubetz at the brunch for online graduates, May 14, 2016, Public Affairs Center, UIS

You might not think that doing class assignments during a family vacation in Colorado would create good memories, but for Shannon Holubetz, the experience became a turning point in his graduate education.

It happened during the first semester of his work on a master’s degree in Legal Studies, pursued online through UIS.

“I disliked the thought of completing school work while traveling with family,” he says, “but I distinctly remember the point where I re-discovered the joy of learning. It fueled so much of my desire moving forward in the program.”

Police work in Vernon Hills

Shannon grew up in suburban Chicago and earned his BA in Administration of Justice at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He has been a police officer for over eleven years with the Vernon Hills (IL) Police Department.

During these years, he’s been active in the community, repeatedly doing a polar plunge for Special Olympics, for example, and directing the “Run from the Cops” 5K on behalf of Honor Flight Chicago, an organization that sends WWII vets to Washington, D.C.

Legal Studies at UIS

Shannon says he has always felt like his bachelor’s degree would not be the end of his educational road. He took his first online course at UIS in 2013.

“I knew that in order to completely invest myself, I would need to pursue a program that would challenge me while maintaining my interest. After searching intermittently for several years, I landed on the Legal Studies program at UIS.”

That first course was Legal Research and Citation. As he continued his program, he came to appreciate two aspects of UIS Online:

  • He loved the diverse group that comprised each of his classes, especially the spirited interaction that often took place during discussions.
  • The quality of the faculty also impressed him: “I was very surprised to find myself consistently taught by PhDs and attorneys (often times both) who contributed to the field via original research and actual legal practice.”

Shannon says he would readily recommend UIS’ online programs to prospective students: “UIS online offers the flexibility working professionals frequently require along with the comfort and prestige of attending a state school.”

More than just learning

Shannon has one class that he would particularly recommend to other students: Conviction of the Innocent with Dr. Gwen Jordan.

More than learning about historical and modern failures of the justice system, the course led to often passionate advocacy from students who spoke out in favor of their particular perspectives. The class fostered an environment where students often found themselves learning from each other instead of just the professor.

Now that Shannon has completed his program, he plans on enjoying more time with his family.

He also plans on proudly displaying his University of Illinois diploma!