About the Department of Sociology and Criminology

In July 1972, UNCW founded the Department of Sociology, offering a BA in Sociology.  Seventeen years later, in 1989, a BA in Criminal Justice was added, with a subsequent name change in 2009 to a BA in Criminology.  We have come a long way since those early days and many, many students have received their bachelor’s degrees from our department.  In 2007, we added an MA in Sociology and Criminology and we are proud to claim many accomplished alumni from our program.  In 2022 we will celebrate 50 years of UNCW Sociology and Criminology! It is exciting to think about. 

We have a talented and dedicated faculty committed to excellence in scholarship and teaching.  One of the strengths in our department is a public sociology and public criminology cluster that focuses on scholarly engagement in the region.  The Department of Sociology and Criminology is committed to the mission and vision of the College of Arts and Sciences that focuses on “serving the betterment of the region, state, nation, and world.”  You will see evidence of this throughout this website as you read the biographies, research and teaching interests of our accomplished faculty, as well as the great work of our undergraduate and graduate students.

I am fortunate to be chair of such an impressive department.  Please contact me should you have questions about our work or interest in our program.  Or drop by our Bear Hall offices and become familiar with the projects and programs we offer and meet us learn more about the work we do. We are excited about our impact in the region and are eager to share the results of our scholarly engagement and research activities. 

Leslie Hossfeld, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair

Leslie HossfeldAbout the Chair

Dr. Hossfeld is trained in Rural Sociology from North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She has extensive experience examining rural poverty and economic restructuring and has made two presentations to the United States Congress and one to the North Carolina Legislature on job loss and rural economic decline. Dr. Hossfeld has served as Co-Chair of the American Sociological Association Task Force on Public Sociology, Vice President of Sociologists for Women in Society, President of the Southern Sociological Society, and on the Executive Council of the North Carolina Sociological Association. She founded the Public Sociology undergraduate and graduate program at UNCW. Hossfeld works on economic recovery projects for rural North Carolina counties and is co-founder and Executive Director of the Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Program Feast Down East, managing several million in grant funds to support this initiative. Due to her expertise in rural economic development, Congressman Bob Etheridge recently appointed Dr. Hossfeld to serve on the USDA Rural Growth and Opportunity Board of Advisors. She is recipient of the 2011 UNCW Distinguished Award for Scholarly Engagement and Public Service and the UNCW 2013 College of Arts and Sciences faculty research award.  Dr. Hossfeld worked closely with the Wilmington North Carolina Housing Authority, the Wilmington North Carolina Blue Ribbon Commission on Youth Violence, and the Duke Endowment on community needs including health access, transportation, public housing, youth violence, food access and food security, as well as rural economic development.

Dr. Leslie Hossfeld / Bear Hall 250 / 910-962-7849 / hossfeldl@uncw.edu


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