Criminology at Malaspina: The Inside Story, Part 1

    When I first came to Malaspina in 1989, there were a smattering of criminology courses offered in the Calendar. Students could take criminology courses, but there were no credentials which they could earn.

    I was the Departmental Chair and taught 7 courses per year, in addition to my administrative responsibilities.

    Student Power

    In 1990, two students approached me and said that they would be able to transfer to SFU’s criminology program if they had two more courses. I told them that the budget was about to be finalized, but they would have greater influence if they went and spoke to the Vice President. They did.

    Within days, the VP called me into his office and said that he thought the idea of Malaspina students being able to transfer to SFU’s four year baccalaureate program was a "great idea". He authorized two new courses and I hired a new Crim instructor for the fall.

    One of those students who went to see the VP is now a constable with the Nanaimo RCMP. The other one did, in fact, go to SFU for his upper-level courses.

    Great ideas, not enough time

    I was just starting my PhD at UBC in those days and much of my time was devoted to reading and studying for comprehensive exams. I had SEVEN courses to teach, admin responsibilities and the fun of raising an active 3 year old daughter.

    I was not able to put much thought or energy into developing a Crim diploma, especially when Mala at that time was developing transfer agreements with UVic. We were not, at that time, a degree-granting institution.

    I contacted SFU and asked them if they would be willing to enter into a transfer arrangement with us at Mala. Under the plan, it would look like this:

    • Vancouver Island students would be able to get a BA in Crim from SFU through Distance Education;

      • the actual teaching would be in-class, but using DE materials and faculty from SFU or Vancouver Island if the instructor had qualifications, i.e., a PhD in a relevant discipline.

      The idea sounded promising, but the School of Criminology ultimately withdrew their participation.

      I didn’t abandon the prospect of developing a BA for our students. Every year I heard more and more students ask why there wasn’t a BA in Crim on Vancouver Island.

      More later in Part 2

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