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February 3, 2014

ODU Criminology and Criminal Justice Doctoral Program a Leader in National Trend

morenews2-lgDawn Rothe

The Old Dominion University doctoral program in criminology and criminal justice is on the leading edge of a national trend where women are playing a much more significant role in an academic discipline once dominated by men, according to an article published recently in the Journal of Criminal Justice Education.

The article, "Criminology and Criminal Justice Doctoral Programs in 2012-2013: Transformation of a Male-Dominated Arena," ranked ODU second nationally among all doctoral programs. In ODU's program, women represent 52.9 percent of the total faculty.

"Perhaps not by coincidence, roughly half of the doctoral students in Old Dominion University's criminology and criminal justice program are women," noted Brian Payne, ODU vice provost for graduate and undergraduate academic programs.

A cross-sectional portrait of female scholars working as tenure-track faculty at institutions offering doctoral degrees in criminology and/or criminal justice was presented by the study, which relied primarily on departmental websites as an initial source of information.

It was determined that the 35 programs examined were composed of 198 (35.9 percent) female and 353 (64.1 percent) male tenure-track faculty members, according to a study abstract.

Despite the historical male domination of criminal justice professions and instructional roles in higher education, the study found that females represent an increasingly visible and instrumental component of doctoral education in criminology and criminal justice. Women comprised at least 50 percent of faculty members within seven doctoral programs, and seven programs had female administrators. Most importantly, a majority of the hires over the previous 12 years were women, the study concluded.

"Assuming this trend continues, a once male-dominated academic discipline will soon find itself in the midst of unprecedented change," the abstract states.

Dawn Rothe, an associate professor of criminology at ODU, said the trend toward larger numbers of female faculty members is particularly strong in programs that are sociology based.

While "there are still challenges," Rothe said changes in the discipline's faculty ratios have been developing for several decades and ODU's ranking reflects the department's diversity and "openness to new hires."

"We are collegial - that's a big attraction for students - and open to a variety of interests and expertise," Rothe said. "We are lucky here."

The Journal of Criminal Justice Education is published by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. To view the abstract, or download the article's full text, visit the Journal of Criminal Justice Education's website.