Sociology and Criminology


Public Sociology and Public Criminology

Cluster Studies and Scholarly Engagement at UNCW

Kimberly CookDr. 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, Associate Professor of Sociology

 Christina Lanier   Dr. Christina Lanier, Associate 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. John Rice
  Dr. John Rice, Associate Professor Sociology

Dr. Rice was instrumental in creating the Hillcrest Reading Program, a Public Sociology project that seeks to address the enduring racial achievement gap in reading scores among black and white students in New Hanover County. Dr. Rice trains UNCW graduate and undergraduate students to work as tutors in effective, hands-on reading instruction one-on-one with children (primarily, kindergarten through second grade) between 2-4 hours two afernoons a week. Employing standard pre-and post-test experimental design, the data collected over the past six years have shown that virtually all of the children with whom the reading program has worked, achieve, or come close to achieving, grade-level reading proficiency by the time they complete the program with us. Findings are shared annually with participants, at local school board meetings and in peer-reviewed journal articles.
waity:soccrm:UNCW  Dr. Jill Waity, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Dr. Waity's Sociology of Poverty students conducted a semester-long community mapping activity funded through an ETEAL supported pedagogy initiative. They mapped the community resources, especially focusing on food access and education and youth programs, in two Wilmington neighborhoods as well as in neighboring Burgaw. they presented their research at the Taking the Pulse on Poverty Conference and the Public Sociology breakfast symposium. Dr. Waity's research focuses on poverty and food insecurity and she has shared her research at Food Day, Taking the Pulse on Poverty Conference, and at the Southern Sociological Society annual meeting. This summer, with the assistance of graduate student Casey Errante, Dr. Waity will be mapping the location of food pantries and soup kitchens in North Carolina, and conducting interviews with a sample of the agencies and will share these results with the public in an effort to address food insecurity needs in the region.

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