Inspector Veronica Fox of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said studying online with Charles Sturt gave her an experience that she would not have been able to obtain through a traditional on-campus learning model.
What she learned with Charles Sturt helps her to contribute to her organisation and to the proud traditions of the RCMP.
A Charles Sturt University alumna’s global approach to studying is allowing her to better understand and navigate complex issues in policing and Canada’s criminal justice system.
Inspector Veronica Fox’s dedication to her study and contributions to her community earned her a Charles Sturt University Distinguished Alumni Award.
Inspector Fox was born and raised in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia (BC). Following secondary school, she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Sociology at Simon Fraser University in 2003.
After graduating from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) training academy in 2006, while working full-time, she went on to complete a Master of Arts in Leadership at Royal Roads University in 2010.
Before joining the RCMP, Inspector Fox served as an emergency call-taker with E-Comm 9-1-1 (Emergency Communications for British Columbia). She credits that early experience, along with her ongoing volunteering, with laying the groundwork for her career in public service.
With the RCMP, Inspector Fox has served in Frontline Policing, Youth Section, Behavioural Sciences, the Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG), Information Management and Technology (IM+T), and on secondment as an Acting Staff Sergeant Major with the BC RCMP Lower Mainland District Office.
She has contributed to multiple special projects and initiatives throughout her time in the Force. Inspector Fox is currently the Executive Officer to the Commanding Officer of the BC RCMP, the largest division in the RCMP.
Inspector Fox started her studies with Charles Sturt in 2016, determined to attain her doctorate but unable to attend in person as she was working full-time. She started researching universities that would allow her to obtain the required qualifications while continuing to contribute to her profession full-time.
“I found Charles Sturt University through my preliminary research process and looked into it to see if it would be a good fit,” she said.
“I had a very specific job at the time that required me to appear in provincial court on a consistent basis. While serving in that role, I would not be able to guarantee I could be on campus for any in-person sessions, so this precluded several other programs.
“The program at Charles Sturt was of interest to me as it was one of the very few doctoral-level programs that leveraged technology to allow for the degree to be attained online.”
Inspector Fox said not having a student cohort to constantly engage with was challenging, but she said studying online with Charles Sturt was still very rewarding. She was in constant contact with her professors and was able to work at her own pace.
Inspector Fox said Charles Sturt provided her access to a program that otherwise would have not been available to her, and what she learned through the process of her studies continues to help her contribute to her workforce in a meaningful way.
“I work in a field that is, in some respects, under-studied, particularly when we are talking about policing practice and the criminal justice system,” she said.
“In Canada specifically, there is a lot of uncharted territory and there are many opportunities for quality evidence-based research studies.
“I have been very fortunate to be able to apply the expertise I developed at Charles Sturt to advancing an evidence-based approach in a number of areas within my realm of influence.
“I am hopeful I am having a meaningful impact not only academically, but professionally within policing.”
On completing her Doctorate in policing and security with the Charles Sturt University Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security in 2019 Inspector Fox travelled to Australia, and onto Wagga Wagga for her graduation ceremony.
“The three short weeks I was able to spend in beautiful Australia were nowhere near enough,” she said.
“It is such a lovely place and I have plans to visit again as there is still so much to see and do.”
Inspector Fox encourages other international students who are considering studying online to take the plunge. She said it provides a broad experience by allowing students to work with and meet people who have different and diverse lived experiences.
“I think that it is important to encourage a global approach to study,” she said.
“We are already a globalised economy and every day becoming more of a globalised society. Encouraging cross-border academia helps to contribute to a strong, ethical and equitable future in many areas.
“When you meet new people and engage in a meaningful exchange of ideas, or share experiences together, you start to think critically and challenge your own assumptions.
“For an international student, studying at Charles Sturt could be one way of getting such a valuable experience.”
“In reading the work of the other award recipients and those highly commended, I am truly humbled to be counted among such people,” she said.
“There is good work being done by Charles Sturt alumni in many different professions. It is important to share and tell our stories so we might perhaps inspire others who may choose to study, to collaborate, to challenge, and to lead.”
Inspector Fox wants to make a difference in her organisation, to contribute to the strong and proud traditions of the RCMP, and to leave the Force even better than it was when she joined. She also wants to inspire current and future police officers to do their best in service to the community.