Being a few weeks into the spring semester already seems unbelievable. With new classes, new friends, warmer weather on its way and graduation looming, it feels like a “honeymoon period” at Villanova. Well, not for everyone.
For example, the Criminology Department faced some problems at the start of the semester after two part-time Criminology professors abruptly quit. This sudden change in the department led to many classes having to be combined. This would not be too much of an issue, if not for this particular University.
One of the appeals of Villanova is the small class sizes to develop a more personalized connection with professors, as well as more engaging discussions and participation. Unfortunately, with classes having to be combined, many sections of Criminology courses are facing overcrowded classes.
Despite all the chaos, there seems to be hope for the department. The Villanovan spoke to Thomas Arvanites, chair of the Sociology and Criminology departments, to gain more insight on the two part-time professors quitting, as well as how the future of the department looked.
“The two resignations were from two visiting professors,” Arvanites said. “The Department hired two professors for Fall 2021 for a one-year, non-tenure track teaching position at the rank of Visiting Assistant Teaching professor. One resigned prior to the start of the semester due to COVID concerns. The second professor secured a permanent full-time position elsewhere and resigned prior to the start of this semester.”
The department may be in disarray right now, but Villanova has been preparing for this transition between part-time professors and a long-term one.
“The loss of two temporary positions will not have any long-term impact on the program,” Arvanites said.
“I am pleased to tell you that we had a successful job search last semester. A new full-time tenure-track Criminology professor will be joining us in August. With this addition, we will have more full-time tenure-track professors dedicated to the Criminology program than at any other time in the program’s history.”
It seems that in the fall of 2022, the Criminology department will be staffed better than ever.
Although the words from Arvanites seem promising, and a more concrete plan is prepared for next school year, it makes me wonder if it could have been handled in a more efficient manner. What about all of the students who have to deal with the two part-time professors’ absence in terms of overpopulated classes? If the departments notified students about professors’ resignations at the beginning of the semester, shouldn’t it have notified those who were signed up for the courses this semester that classes would be a little different than normal?
It is unfortunate that the original plan did not pan out. Although the professors’ contracts were for the entirety of the year, legitimate reasons ruined the plan and provided problems for not only the University, but also for the students in Criminology courses.
Regardless of the problems this semester, the Criminology department will not only be back on track next year but also more appropriately staffed than it has ever been. If one has ever been interested in taking a Criminology class, next semester will be the time to act on it.