Applied Learning: Business students help Waupaca County Circuit Court

Globe University-Appleton business law class works to make the return of seized property a smoother process for rightful owners.

Business law applied learning students

Kaitlin Fieck (L), Allison Swanton (R); business administration students

Imagine walking into a pawn shop and spotting a stolen family heirloom on the shelf. What would you do to get this heirloom back? If you were a Waupaca County resident, a “Petition for Return of Seized Property” form must be completed by the property owner and filed with the Waupaca County Clerk of Courts. When property is seized by the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department from a pawn shop, the rightful owner may petition to have their stolen items returned to them once the criminal case has been completed.

Legal recourse as it relates to this issue was the focus of an applied learning project at Globe University–Appleton. Peggy Miller’s recent Business Law students were provided with Waupaca County’s current version of the petition form. Terrie Tews-Liebe, clerk of circuit courts for the county, requested that the class review the form and devise instructions that could be utilized to assist the rightful owner in completing this document.

During the review process, students identified a potential legal issue involving incidents where the rightful owner may not have the correct documentation proving ownership. Miller stated that “using the skills developed in class, they decided to add an affidavit to the documents to present to Tews-Liebe.”

The class presented both the suggested instructions and affidavit to Tews-Liebe. The class provided an overview of the Petition and instruction sheet, and explained why they thought an affidavit may be beneficial to this process. The work presented is now scheduled to go to the Waupaca County judges for final approval for use by the public.

“In the business program, we work hard to connect our students with community partners in order to apply the skills they are directly learning in the classroom,” said Alisa DiSalvo, business program chair.

Allison Swanton, a student in the Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration program, also responded to the experience. “It was rewarding to help Waupaca County come up with an easier and more efficient way to help those whose property was stolen, and make it a less stressful situation for the property owner and the county,” she said.

This community partnership has reached beyond applied learning. Two of Globe University-Appleton students have completed internships with Tews-Liebe. The most recent intern was hired to work full time in the Waupaca County District Attorney’s office.

Written by Amanda Loewen, service learning coordinator