March 14, 2017
By Crystal Medrano
It’s always sad when an individual that has done so much for the university and its students parts ways, especially one that has shown an extraordinary amount of devotion. After coming in straight out of grad school in 1979, Professor Janice Monti, department chair and profess of criminology and sociology, is retiring.
“I’ve been here since the dinosaurs,” Monti said. “My relationship with DU has been one of the most enduring relationships in my life, it is older than my son and has even outlasted my marriage.”
Monti’s sense of humor is what has made her most memorable as a professor both inside and outside the classroom. The spirit and energy she puts into her lectures and her love for teaching has always been apparent.
When asked what her favorite part about being at Dominican was, she answered, “the students.”
“The students keep me from turning into an old crone,” Monti said. “I keep in contact with my students and have even gotten to teach some of their children.”
Anyone who has ever known Monti, knows the love that she has not only for teaching criminology or sociology, but for teaching her other passion; music.
“My best experiences as a professor is bringing students from diverse backgrounds to the Mississippi Delta,” Monti said. “Introducing students to the background, exploring civil rights and just listening to the blues in juke joints is just such a great time.”
Monti was able to take students on trips like these during the summer due to experiential learning trips that Dominican allows. She is so grateful for opportunities that Dominican has to offer like these and many more.
Monti said: “I have organized a national blues conference, I have done experiential learning with my students, which by the way, I have this Robert Johnson paper mache sculpture in my office that a student made for me back in 2005 after a trip to the Delta, and I don’t know what I’m going to do with it”
Given her devotion for students and the love she has for showing students new experiences, it is no surprise what she responded with when asked if there was anything she would change about Dominican.
“I would like to see endowment and have funded study abroad or study away for students,” Monti said. “A lot of our students come from modest backgrounds and they need to get out of their comfort zones. It is incredibly enriching and students need to experience another part of the world now that they are young, not when they are old and crotchety.”
Professor Monti has been here for over 30 years, and acknowledges some of the changes seen over time.
“It has been extraordinarily gratifying to be a part of one of the most diverse departments in the school that has grown over 170 majors” Monti said. “The changing demographics in this institution is wonderful thanks to Donna Carroll who became a leader to serve the students and named Dominican a Hispanic-Serving Institution.”
Sometimes however, it’s the smaller changes and perks that make people the happiest. When asked about the best change that she has seen, she responded with three words: the parking garage.
After Dominican, Monti plans to do some work and writing for a blues foundation. If you have ever had Monti as a professor or even if you haven’t, she leaves some wise words for the students of Dominican.
“Take as much out of this opportunity as you can, enrich yourselves, but remember to work for justice so that others can have this experience as well,” Monti said.