Research

The department of Sociology & Criminal Justice defines scholarship broadly to include discovery, artistic activity, integration, and pedagogy.  The faculty model life-long learning through continual engagement with disciplinary and interdisciplinary interests, and expose students to their scholarship by integrating it into their teaching.  We strongly support student-faculty collaborative scholarship and the launching of new scholars through the promotion of student presentation at professional meetings and in other venues.

Our 5-fulltime faculty are active researchers that have published numerous books, book chapters, and journal articles in a variety of areas. Below is a brief summary of current faculty research interests. 

Dr. Tanya Gladney

Professor Gladney is interested in urban neighborhoods and crime variation, race and ethnicity, and historical and contemporary inequality.

Dr. Meg Wilkes Karraker

Professor Karraker has recently completed a study of Catholic sisters who provided the social and caring capital to bring a small city together around diversity.  She is currently completing an assessment of undergraduate students’ experience in service learning with people living homeless and a study of values among family business members (the later funded by the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion).  Her next project is a three-year study “Middle Class in Middle America: Families, Neighbors, and a Good Society” (funded by a 3-year University Scholar Grant from the University of St. Thomas).

Dr. William Kinney

Professor Kinney does research on popular culture and technology use of Generation Y.

Dr. Lisa Waldner

Professor Waldner’s most recent research is on the use of graffiti as a form of political protest, political and social beliefs of white supremacists, and sexual coercion in intimate relationships. 

Dr. Buffy Smith

Dr. Smith’s primary research interests include examining racial and class disparities within the higher education system. She also writes on policy issues dealing with mentoring, access, retention, equity, and diversity in higher education. She is the author of the book, Mentoring At-Risk Students through the Hidden Curriculum of Higher Education (Lexington Books, 2013). 

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/08/04/book-argues-mentoring-programs-should-try-unveil-colleges-hidden-curriculum

Dr. Jessica Hodge

Dr. Hodge's research interests include hate crimes, juvenile justice, and gender and queer issues in crime and criminal justice. She has published in peer-reviewed journals such as Feminist Criminology, Women & Criminal Justice, The Prison Journal, and the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice. Her book Gendered Hate: Exploring Gender in Hate Crime Law was published with Northeastern University Press in 2011.

Dr. Hodge recently finished work on an evaluation project funded by the Vera Institute of Justice that examined the development and implementation process of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) in two correctional facilities in Kansas. This project resulted in a national resource guide that is now available for correctional facilities across the country. She is now working on a community-based research project that involves various non-profit organizations throughout the Kansas City metro area. Through a mixed-methods approach, including surveys, interviews and observations, this study examines the victimization experiences of individuals identifying as LGBTQ, and the interactions between the LGBTQ community and law enforcement.

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