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 7-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. Peter Parilla

Professor Parilla’s recent research involves examining shifting perceptions of the dangers of cell phone use and driving. 

Dr. Susan Smith-Cunnien

Professor Smith-Cunnien is interested in restorative and non-state justice in African nations and the sociology and history of chiropractic medicine. 

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