Mission, Values, & Priorities


Inspired by the sociological imagination, the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice contributes to the overall mission of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas, especially as it relates to fostering cultural awareness and a tradition of service to the community, both in the Catholic intellectual tradition.  


As an essential component of the liberal arts, sociology provides a foundation for understanding and critical reflection on society and social life.  In addition, the department contributes to the academic objectives of the College and the University by providing courses to meet the social science requirement for a degree, as well as courses of study leading to majors and minors in sociology and criminal justice.  We emphasize critical thinking in the application of sociological knowledge to everyday life.


Sociology’s mission is accomplished through excellent instruction in the sociological perspective, research methods, theories, and specific content areas.  The majors in sociology and criminal justice provide students with undergraduate preparation for careers, as well as a strong foundation for graduate and professional study.  To realize this vision, we place priority on the following:

  • Engaged Learning

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice will ensure that engaged learning opportunities are available to students in Sociology and Criminal Justice majors and minors and infused throughout the curriculum.  Initiatives in this area will include, but are not limited to, community-based learning, internships, research, and study abroad.

  • Interdisciplinary Learning

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice will support the development of interdisciplinary learning across the College and at the University, including team-taught and paired courses.  The Department will encourage and support the participation of its faculty and students in the Aquinas Scholars, Renaissance, and interdisciplinary programs such as American Culture and Difference, Catholic Studies, Environmental Studies, Family Studies, International Studies, Justice and Peace Studies, Legal Studies, Social Studies, Urban Studies, Women’s Studies, and area studies.

  • Intercultural Learning

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice will assure that a variety of valuable intercultural experiences is available to all majors and minors in the Department, as well as in appropriate courses, including activities and courses designed to foster students’ intercultural competence, including but not limited to community-based learning, service learning, and research.

  • Moral Responsibility

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice will foster in students the values and sensibilities necessary to be morally responsible members of their professions and communities, including personal integrity, respect for human rights, and the promotion of a just social order.  In particular the Sociology and Criminal Justice curriculum will highlight research and professional ethics pertinent to the discipline and to life in a complex, changing society.

  • Scholarly Endeavors

The Sociology and Criminal Justice Department will enrich the intellectual and creative life of the College and the University community through the scholarship of its faculty.  The Department 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.  The Department strongly supports student-faculty collaborative scholarship and the launching of new scholars through the promotion of student presentation at professional meetings and in other venues.

  • Community Diversity

As one of the premier Departments to assert the value of diversity in the College, the University, and our profession, the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department will work to attract and retain a highly talented and diverse faculty and student body through recruitment, advising and mentorship, and curricular and co-curricular innovation.  The Sociology and Criminal Justice Department affirms the dignity and equality of opportunity of all, regardless of age, ancestry, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, status with regard to public assistance, or other ascribed characteristics.