Traditionally students from across the United States and other corners of the globe have traveled far and wide to attend Castleton’s prestigious forensic psychology graduate program.In recent times, however, students have arrived at Castleton only to find the program on hiatus – perhaps permanently.
“My frustration level is at a 9, with 10 being super frustrated,” said one CSC psychology student from California, who wished to remain anonymous to avoid ruffling the feathers of her professors.
“Now I’ll probably have to go to another school for forensic psychology,” she said.
Such seems to be the case for many Castleton students who chose to attend the school because of the forensic psychology graduate program, which was widely regarded as one of the finest, and most expensive, programs in the nation.
“We had a few students go on to do the whole CSI thing, which is real sexy these days,” said Psychology Chairperson John Klein with a smirk.
The program was not only a national success in the United States, but also drew international students from different areas of the world as well.
“Our program has been as strong as it gets,” Klein said.
Klein also pointed out that the sudden and abrupt departures of some of the psychology department’s key faculty members led to the suspension of the program. One professor left on temporary medical leave, while another pursued teaching options elsewhere. It won’t be until new faculty is hired that the program can officially get back on its feet.
The loss of the faculty members also caused certain undergraduate psychology courses to be suspended for the semester, with little warning given to the department or the students registered to attend those courses.
“The school should have seen this coming,” said Bridget McKnight, who came to Vermont from Colorado in hopes of landing a spot in the program. “There was no warning to students whatsoever.”
Associate Academic Dean Honoree Fleming said that the decision to suspend the graduate program was not something the college planned on doing, but rather something that happened unexpectedly.
“Many things were beyond our control,” said Associate Academic Dean Honoree Fleming. “There just wasn’t any time to react.”
Students currently enrolled in the program will be allowed to finish their studies and receive degrees, but as of now no new students are being admitted into the program.
Professor Terry Bergen of the psychology department stated that there is already a plan underway to reinstate the program as soon as possible.
“We have been authorized to hire two new faculty members,” Bergen said. “[We] expect authorization to hire a third next year.”
“When these new people are in place, we anticipate again proposing a graduate program,” Bergen said.
Although no current time table is set in stone, the department feels that the program may be reinstated by 2008 or 2009. But for the time being, students will just have to wait patiently and hope for the best.
“We want students to be realistic,” said Fleming. “If you are a senior, it might be best to look at other schools.”
“If you’re a freshman, well, you’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” she said.