Spotlight on new faculty — an interview with Jordan Nowotny

Interview by Kaidi Ilves
Photo by Dan Landau

Jordan Nowotny, a specialist in restorative and juvenile justice and post-violence reconciliation, is welcomed by Fairleigh Dickinson University as the new assistant professor of criminology for the Department of Social Sciences and History at Becton College of Arts & Sciences. Nowotny holds a Ph.D. in criminology, law and justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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FDU: What brings you to FDU?

Jordan Nowotny: I taught quite a bit while in graduate school, especially courses like statistics that others usually steer away from, but I always enjoyed it. I wrote my dissertation about Rwanda, which of course involved living there, after which I worked at a research organization in Brooklyn, focusing on non-profit capacity building. Although the research was very interesting, I missed academia, writing, and teaching tremendously.

Thus, I started looking for new teaching experience and ended up accepting a position at in a public university in Chicago. I always considered it important to be close to New York City, because my research is international, which is why I continued to seek out teaching opportunities closer to the Big Apple. FDU’s focus on international education, its connection to the UN and, of course, its location were big factors in my decision.

FDU: Tell us about your new position…

JN: I am an assistant professor of criminology. I teach courses on social deviance, and responses to mass-violence. I am also hoping to teach restorative and post-conflict justice courses. I am very excited to be here, and very glad that (so far) I have very attentive students that are interested in the courses I teach!

FDU: What is something you would like to contribute to FDU?

JN: I would like to spark the curiosity of students that don’t traditionally take interest in world affairs and community action, and of course help our students find internships in those spheres. I’m engaged with some restorative justice organizations in New York City and I’m hoping to get some initiatives going on campus to get students to be more active in the community.

FDU: What is one piece of advice you can give your new students?

JN: Communicate with your instructors! The more you interact with your professors, the more you will get out of it, as will they! Learning is a two-way street, professors aren’t here to just “give” knowledge – they learn a lot from their students as well.

FDU: What is something you hope your students will take away from your class(es)?

JN: Taking initiative! There are so many opportunities for students to get actively involved in bettering our society. Hopefully some of the topics we discuss will encourage students to make some positive changes.