Sociology and Criminology


Public Sociology|Public Criminology and Community Engaged Scholarship


Kimberly Cook
Dr. Kimberly Cook, Professor of Sociology & Criminology 

Dr. Cook is engaged with public sociology/criminology in the following ways: She is an active member of the NAACP and works on the criminal justice committee in the local chapter. She serves Chairs the Board of Directors for a local non-profit devoted to prisoer reentry: LINC (Leading Into New Communities), and on the Board of Directors for the Healing Justice Project which identifies and liaises with original crime victims and exonerees in wrongful conviction cases to promote improve aftermath services across the country. In addition, Dr. Cook is involved in promoting restorative justice practics in the greater Wilmington area. 

Dr. Kristen DeVall  
Dr. Kristen DeVall, Professor of Sociology
 Christina Lanier   
Dr. Christina Lanier, Professor of Criminology

Drs. Kristen DeVall and Christina Lanier are actively engaged in public sociology and public criminology. Their work focuses on assisting agencies and programs in the areas of grant-writing and program evaluation. Recently, they have begun work on evaluating the New Hanover Drug Treatment Court (along with Dr. Darrell Irwin) to assess the effectiveness of this problem-solving court in reducing recidivism and improving participants' quality of life. Similarly, they recently completed (along with Dr. Mike Maume) a state-wide evaluation of the NC Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities (TASC) program for Coastal Horizons Center, Inc. This project investigated the impact of the program on criminal recidivism among TASC graduates and those who were unsuccessfully discharged. Drs. DeVall and Lanier have also worked closely with the Wilmington Housing Authority to assess the needs of public housing residents and the needs of the local community to assist in the development of a comprehensive strategy and plan for their Choice Neighborhoods grant proposal.

Drs. DeVall and Lanier received a 2014 College of Arts and Sciences Summer Curriculum Development award to develop a Public Criminology undergraduate course and a 2014 Center for Teaching Excellence Summer Pedagogy award to create a set of Public Criminology course modules. The course will provide students a unique opportunity to engage in their community while the public criminology modules will allow faculty to bring public criminology into any course within the department's curriculum. Both the course and the modules will greatly enhance students' research methods, theoretical, data analysis and writing skills as well as provide them with the opportunity to disseminate research beyond the academy.

Dr. Justin Smith, Assistant Professor of Criminology 

Professor Justin Smith is engaged in public sociology/criminology in the following ways:
He is a facilitator in the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program - a program which brings traditional college students and incarcerated students together in jails and prisons for semester-long learning experiences.  He developed the first Inside Out Prison Exchange Program in 2014 at Central Michigan University and Central Michigan Correctional Facility, and is currently seeking to develop it at UNCW.  Professor Smith is also collaborating with the non-profit organization Safe & Just on a criminal sentencing research report.  

Dr. Jill Waity, Associate Professor of Sociology

2019-2020: Dr. Waity is currently working on a Community Engagement Grant funded research project assessing affordable housing in Navassa, North Carolina. This research is in partnership with students from the MPA program, their instructor Dr. Kirsten Kinzer, the Navassa Town Planner (a UNCW graduate), MA student Samantha Durham, and Dr. Waity’s public sociology and criminology students. The research team is investigating options for affordable housing in Navassa as well as seeking input from Navassa residents about their views of and interest in affordable housing.