The School of Social Research and Justice Studies at UNR combines the research expertise and scholarly interests of faculty in the Departments of Communication Studies, Criminology and Sociology. It also houses the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies, a state-wide program for research and public service. Faculty in the school enjoy national and international reputations in their fields, publishing in the most prestigious professional journals and presenting papers at national and international conferences. The departments in the school provide a range of stimulating courses, undergraduate programs, and graduate programs for students with an interest in understanding the dynamics of our complex soci-political-legal world. The School brings together faculty with expertise in a wide range of related areas, pursuing the intersections between our social structures, the interactions in which we engage and the identities we develop. The School is particularly focused on research in communications, social processes, social structures and justice issues.
Areas of expertise of faculty include family and gender, mental health and illness, , work and family, rhetoric and social movements, gender and sexualities, new religious movements, experiences of ant attitudes toward Viet Nam Vets, economic development in Africa, juvenile offenders, ethnicity and identity, political corruption, attitudes across the globe, relationships between psychological characteristics, identity and attitudes and experiences, globalization, class and inequality, among others.
Students majoring in any of the departments are encouraged to study across boundaries to broaden their academic experience. Students can either major or minor in any of the three academic areas represented in the School. The School includes several graduate programs, including an M.A. in Criminal Justice, an M.A. in Sociology and an M.A. in Justice Management (offered on-line through the Sawyer Center). An on-line Ph.D program in Judicial Studies designed for sitting judges throughout the country is also offered through the Sawyer Center.
Situated within the College of Liberal Arts, the School benefits from relationships among a wide range of faculty. Further, faculty remain accessible to students as a result of the relatively small classes we are able to maintain after the introductory level. Students in the School may seek careers in policy making, social services, in not-for profit and government agencies, in research and analysis positions, public service, in public relations and human resources, and in the legal system at various levels, from police officers to court manager. Many majors continue on to law school or professional school.
Mary Stewart, Ph.D. Mary White Stewart joined the faculty at UNR in 1987, after spending fourteen years at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she developed courses in gender and family violence and developed the women’s studies minor After coming to UNR, her continuing interest in feminism and women's lives encouraged research in the area of rape, battery, and breast implants, leading to a number presentations and books on violence against women. At UNR, she directed the Women’s Studies program for ten years and developed the Gender, Race and Identity Program, bringing together women’s studies, ethnic studies, Holocaust, Genocide and Peace Studies and Religious Studies. She developed an M.A. and a Certificate program in GRI. After returning to the Sociology Department and teaching for two years, she became the Director of the School of Social Research and Justice Studies. Her major areas of research and teaching interest are gendered violence, family violence, and social deviance, all of which she approaches from a critical sociological and a social psychological perspective. She is currently writing the second edition of Ordinary Violence and working on a documentary: Imperfect Justice: Murder, Clemency, and a Lifetime of Loss.