The NSHE Board of Regents approved the School of Social Research and Justice Studies in January 2007. The School was initially comprised of the Department of Sociology, the Department of Criminal Justice and the Department of Communication Studies, as well as the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies. The Grant Sawyer Center administers the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Judicial Studies and the M.A. degree in Justice Management.
The School of Social Research and Justice Studies facilitates and encourages interdisciplinary social research, especially in social justice areas and expedites and promotes interdisciplinary teaching and development of degree programs among constituent departments. Further, the School develops and enhances ties with outside campus and community organizations that promote social justice and social research. The school also promotes public service activities related to areas of competence of faculty members within the school.
The School of Social Research and Justice Studies, 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.
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 statewide program for research and public service. The Grant 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 online and during summer.