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Villa Maria College Announces the Launch of its Criminal Justice Baccalaureate program, Now Enrolling Students for the Spring 2024 Semester

By November 29, 2023November 30th, 2023Academics

This morning, Villa Maria College announced the launch of its newest major: Criminal Justice. 

Villa Maria’s new Criminal Justice program is designed to prepare students for a wide range of professional opportunities in the criminal justice field and beyond, including law enforcement, corrections, the courts, security, FBI/CIA, community policing, victim services, advocacy, intelligence analysis, homeland security, emergency management, and more.  The program is enrolling students for the spring 2024 semester now.   

“This program has been in high demand in Western New York for years,” said Dr. Ryan Hartnett, Villa Maria’s Provost. “The demand is proven by the number of prospective students we have in our pipeline already. Plus, the unfortunate closure of Medaille University left an educational void for many of their former students, increasing the need for the College to launch Criminal Justice that much more.” 

“Villa Maria’s core values are justice and peace, transformation, solidarity with the poor, respect for human dignity, and compassion,” said Dr. Hartnett. “These are represented in the Criminal Justice program curriculum through our service-learning requirement, regularly scheduled volunteer opportunities, and our deep connection to Buffalo’s East Side. Our students will graduate with a strong understanding of what our values mean and what it takes to live them out. This is a key differentiator for Villa Maria’s Criminal Justice program; it will make Villa graduates more desirable to future employers.” 

Also new to Villa Maria is Kevin Clarke, now an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice. Clarke brings decades of experience to the College, having most recently taught in the Criminal Justice program at Medaille University. He was a critical resource in the development of the College’s program and will teach many of its central classes. 

Since 1996, Professor Clarke has taught at several local institutions, including SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Buffalo, St. Bonaventure University, SUNY Buffalo State University, St. John Fisher College, and more. He has served on a number of committees that have aided in the development of curriculum, evaluations, student welfare, technology, and more. He is a highly effective instructor who has taught more than 30 different courses, many of which are closely related to Villa Maria’s Criminal Justice program’s curriculum. He holds a Ph.D. (ABD) in Sociology from SUNY Buffalo, a Master of Arts in Sociology from SUNY Buffalo, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from SUNY Geneseo. 

“There is tremendous growth in the Criminal Justice field right now,” said Professor Clarke. “It opens so many doors of opportunity to meaningful careers in a variety of fields: law, law enforcement, cyber security, corrections, the court systems, even opportunities at the federal level, like with the CIA and FBI. There are so many different pathways to success and so many ways to make this field your own.” 

“That’s what is special about Villa’s program,” continued Professor Clarke. “Students can tailor the curriculum to meet their needs. For example, if they want to go into law enforcement, we offer very specific courses that will help them be ready to do that successfully.”  

The four-year curriculum includes a diverse compilation of classes, including Crime and Society, Juvenile Justice, Policing in a Multicultural Community, Victimology, Psychology, Criminology, and more. All classes are taught by faculty who have worked professionally within the field of Criminal Justice. As with all of Villa Maria’s academic programs, the student-to-faculty ratio is 8:1.  

“Villa Maria’s 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio is a huge positive,” said Professor Clarke. “No other Western New York institution offers the kind of personalized attention that this college can,” concluded Professor Clarke.” 

The new Criminal Justice program is the College’s 20th academic program, with many more exciting developments on the horizon. 

For more information about Villa Maria’s Criminal Justice Program, visit