The School of Social Research and Justice Studies was approved by the NSHE Board of Regents operation in January 2007. The School was initially comprised of the Department of Sociology and the Department of Criminal Justice, and the Department of Communication Studies as well as the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies . The Sawyer Center administers the M.A. and Ph.D. in Judicial Studies and the M.A. in Justice Management. The Department of Communication Studies was not included in the initial proposal for the School, and as a result some of the emphases in the current planning have changed to incorporate that entity. The School was developed and designed to facilitate and encourage interdisciplinary social research, especially in social justice areas and to expedite and promote interdisciplinary teaching and development of degree programs among the constituent organizational elements making up the school. Further, the School was to develop and enhance ties with units external to the school that promote social justice and social research. The school also is to promote public service activities related to areas of competence of faculty in the constituent units within the new school (Proposal to Faculty Senate, July 13, 2006).
The School, consisting of faculty with a diversity of interests and areas of expertise, is in a good position to advance a change-oriented curriculum and research agenda, linked with the pressing justice concerns of today. Its focus on critical inquiry, including critical reading, thinking and problem-solving skills, enhances the learning and research mission of the School. (Organizational Unit Proposal, July 13, 2006) The department of Sociology is a central piece in the mission of the school
The School is designed to allow for a greater efficiency and more effective use of resources through the interaction and affiliation of the several units in the School both in the areas of research and teaching and at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. The expected outcome for the School is the enhancement of interaction among faculty, the development of new courses and programs that integrate the schools, the development of interdisciplinary and collaborative research both among the units of the school and between those units and other departments and units within the University.
The School of Social Research and Justice Studies, part of the College of Liberal Arts, brings together the faculty and students of three departments and several programs to pursue interdisciplinary teaching and research in the area of social justice. The Departments of Criminal Justice, Communication Studies and Sociology offer complementary courses that lead to both the undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students majoring in one area are encouraged to minor in one of the other disciplines in the school and are encouraged to include members of participating departments on their M.A. committees. In addition to these academic departments, the school includes the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies, a state-wide program for research and public service. The Sawyer Center administers the M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Judicial Studies, designed for sitting judges, as well as the M.A. of Justice Management. The JM Program is designed for professionals working in the justice field who wish to pursue a graduate degree. These programs are offered on-line and in summer courses.
Established in 2006, the School of Social Research and Justice Studies reflects the University of Nevada’s commitment to interdisciplinary research and teaching. One of the unique advantages of UNR is its faculty and students to integrate their research and scholarly interests across disciplinary lines. The School is committed to the development of specific interdisciplinary courses at the graduate level as well as to integration of the undergraduate departmental offerings.