Sociology, Criminal Justice & Criminology

The Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, & Criminology

What We Do:

The Sociology, Criminal Justice and Criminology Department is focused on studying the nuances in human interaction. Sociology explores social interactions with individuals, groups and social institutions, while criminal justice explores the system and all actors connected to crime and punishment in society—including offenders, police, courts, and corrections. 

Our newest major, cybercrime and homeland security, explores the various aspects of grave threats to public safety and national and economic security, and the best practices for government and the private sector to combat these 21st century challenges.

How We Stand Out:

  • Dedicated faculty with diverse research interests, real-world expertise, and decades of teaching expertise
  • Close relationships with local, county and state corrections facilitate internship and employment opportunities for students and graduates
  • Located near Scranton’s Courthouse Square, affording easy access to the hub of the local criminal justice system
  • Reflect the principles of Catholic and Jesuit higher education, including genuine care for each student and an emphasis on social justice
  • Interdisciplinary opportunities for students to tailor their academic program with double majors and/or minors in areas of interest, such as computer science foreign language, accounting, legal studies, or psychology
  • Longstanding programs with a tradition of collaboration with other departments
  • In February 2016 we earned the distinction of being one of the nine criminal justice undergraduate programs in the United States to obtain certification from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS).


Meet Our Faculty:

Our faculty includes both real-world practitioners and accomplished academics. Since required courses are taught by full-time faculty members, they get to know every student in the program by senior year. In addition to this focus on instruction, the faculty is also involved in extensive scholarship. Faculty research explores police and the community, white-collar crime, international justice and patterns of human interactions in urban settings. For example:

Dr. Michael Jenkins is a subject expert on innovation in policing and community problem-solving policing.

Dr. Harry Dammer conducts research on prisons around the world and the practice of religion in correctional settings.

Dr. Megan Rich studies race, class and social change in urban neighborhoods.

Dr. Michael Jenkins

Dr. Michael Jenkins


Department Chair

B.S., The University of Scranton
M.A., Ph.D., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Phone: 570-941-7455
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Dr. Ismail Onat

Dr. Ismail Onat

Assistant Professor

B.A., Turkish National Police Academy
M.A., Ph.D., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Phone: 570-941-5908
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Dr. Meghan Ashlin Rich

Dr. Meghan Ashlin Rich


B.A., University of Maryland
M.A., University of Wisconsin; Ph.D., University of Delaware

Phone: 570-941-6137
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Dr. James Roberts


B.A., Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
M.A., Ph.D., Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice
M.S., The University of Scranton

Phone: (570) 941-7435
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Dr. Loreen Wolfer

Dr. Loreen Wolfer


B.A., Franklin and Marshall College
M.A., Ph.D., Cornell University

Phone: 570-941-7450
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Jason A. Shrive, Esquire

Jason A. Shrive, Esquire

Assistant Professor

B.S., The University of Scranton
J.D., Stetson University College of Law

Phone: 570-941-7964
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Sinchul Back

Sinchul Back

Assistant Professor

B.A., Northeastern University
M.A., Hankuk University of Foreign Studies; M.S., Bridgewater State University
Ph.D., Florida International University

Phone: 570-941-4098
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Inside the Classroom:

Students in our sociology and criminal justice programs receive a solid foundation of theory from faculty who are in tune with the latest research, technologies, and trends in their respective fields. Our small class sizes and personal attention from faculty help create an intimate, productive learning environment. Classroom instruction is complemented by numerous opportunities to apply theories in the field through internships and service-learning opportunities. In addition to their sociology or criminal justice curriculum, students gain a firm grounding in the liberal arts that empowers them to excel at critical thinking, writing, speaking, and research, as well as attaining a cross-cultural competency that will serve them well in diverse settings.

Internships, available to students in their junior and senior years, offer invaluable experience that can bring concepts and theories to life. Students can sample potential careers, build their resumes, and learn new skills. Sociology majors have recently interned at organizations such as:

  • Family Court of Lackawanna County
  • United Neighborhood Centers
  • Scranton Counseling Center
  • Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce
  • Lackawanna County Bureau of Children and Youth Services
  • Economic Development Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania
  • Regional Hospital Social Service Department
  • American Red Cross
  • United Way of Lackawanna County
  • Catholic Social Services of Lackawanna County

Criminal justice students have completed internships in settings such as:

  • District Attorney’s office
  • Federal court administrator’s office
  • State and municipal police agencies
  • Private security
  • Drug and rehabilitation services
  • Federal probation
  • U.S. Marshals
  • U.S. Secret Service
  • County and state prisons
  • Juvenile court

Student Research:

The diverse expertise of our professors results in a wide range of faculty-mentored research opportunities for students. Here are some examples:

Dr. Loreen Wolferprofessor of sociology and criminal justice and Chief Evaluator for the Center for the Prevention and Analysis of Crime (CAPoC) is working with student researchers to evaluate local programs such as a training for crisis intervention among emergency service providers, programs to help children in foster care, and arts programs for at risk youth.

Dr. James Roberts collaborates with students to research bouncers and barroom aggression.

Dr. Ismail Onat, along with our students at the CAPoC, is conducting research for the Lackawanna County Prison to explore the dynamics of jail population and for the Scranton Police Department to analyze crime in the city. 

Career Outcomes:

You’ll find Scranton sociology and criminal justice graduates working in diverse fields such as:

  • Research
  • Public Health
  • Business
  • Corrections
  • Politics
  • Law Enforcement
  • Human Services
  • Counseling
  • Law
  • Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing

Our criminal justice graduates also continue their studies at institutions including:

  • Catholic University
  • Dickinson College
  • Georgetown University
  • New York University
  • John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice
  • Seton Hall University
  • University of Dayton
  • William and Mary University

Criminal justice is one of the fastest growing areas of employment in the nation. Employers of Scranton graduates from the criminal justice program include:

  • Federal Probation
  • U.S. Marshals
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General
  • U.S. District Court
  • FBI
  • U.S. Secret Service
  • Pennsylvania State Police
  • NYPD