Rev. Edmund Dobbin, O.S.A., makes return to the classroom



Lauren Piro

Rev. Edmund Dobbin, O.S.A., stepped down from his 18-year term as president of the University at the end of the ’05-’06 academic year. His plans for remaining at Villanova, however, were always clear to him.

“I always intended, if I stepped down as president, to go back to teaching,” Dobbin said. “Teaching was always my first love.”

Dobbin fondly recalls his years of teaching, beginning as a high school math teacher and eventually becoming a theology professor at the Washington Theological Union.

His years as an administrator at Villanova have kept him out of the classroom for the past 20 years.

“It’s a different time,” Dobbin said, referring to his excitement about adjusting to a new generation of students. “Students have been brought up in a whole different culture.”

Dobbin, who describes himself as always having been “a bit of a techie,” has been interested in experimenting with Villanova’s many wired-classroom capabilities.

He is already quite proficient in using WebCT and PowerPoint and enjoys using them interactively with his students.

Dobbin has never taught undergraduates before. As he assigns readings for his courses, he takes an interest in the discussions and reactions they foster in his students and adjusts his class accordingly.

“It’s a learning thing,” he said. “Learning for me and learning for them.”

Dobbin’s courses this semester include “Understanding Jesus” and “Spirit – God’s Presence in the World.”

While he’s willing to work with the department and teach wherever there is a need, he is excited to be concentrating on spirituality this semester.

Regarding how long he plans to remain teaching at Villanova, Dobbin said nothing is set in stone, and he feels he’ll know the right time to retire.

Until then, Dobbin looks forward to returning to this particular profession.

“Nothing is more gratifying than being in a classroom and connecting with a student,” he said.