Christopher Haas, 60, was arrested in his campus office Monday after the university notified local police that a computer in a common area had been flagged for visits to a child porn site, said Lt. Andy Block with the Radnor, Pennsylvania, police.
A search at Haas' residence as part of a separate federal investigation also found more than 400 images of child pornography on a personal computer, Block said.
"It's a very disappointing investigation or case when you get this, that someone is in the academic field and has the ability to shape students' minds and then they're engaged in this type of behavior," Block said.
An attorney for Haas, Scott Godshall, said he would not comment on the charges his client faces until he was able to review the evidence against him.
Haas waived a preliminary hearing Thursday and remains jailed on $50,000 bail. A judge has recommended he receive a mental health assessment, the attorney said.
He will enter a plea of not guilty later this month, Godshall said.
In a statement, Villanova University said it was "horrified" by the allegations against Haas, an associate professor of history and classical studies.
Haas has been relieved of his teaching duties and is "not permitted to return to campus," the university said.
Villanova said it notified local police after an IT security system detected that a campus computer was being used to access "suspicious content online."
When Radnor police investigated the university's tip, Block said, they determined the Department of Homeland Security had also been investigating Haas since 2012.
DHS would not confirm or deny that Haas was part of a federal investigation.
There are no indications that Haas produced or distributed the child pornography, though the local investigation is ongoing, Block said.