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Criminology Comes to Concord

By Josie Hanna
On October 23, 2017

Concord University’s Sociology Department now offers a new criminology emphasis. 
Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Lori Pace

Concord University strives to serve the interest and needs of their students, especially in expanding programs. Now, the sociology department has rolled out a new emphasis area at the start of the 2017 fall semester.

    The new criminology emphasis was created after students in the sociology program voiced their interest in the area. This message from students combined with the large number of Concord sociology alumni who currently hold positions in the criminology field were the two reasons that this emphasis was added.

    So far, halfway through its first semester, the emphasis already has 21 declared majors under it, and this is just the beginning. Instructor of Criminology, Ms. Lori Pace, stated that criminology “gives you a more focused level of understanding in a field that has job security,” and that, “beyond your sociology degree, it will give you more confidence and understanding.”

    This new emphasis is designed to expose students to major theoretical perspectives and research methods that are employed in the field. This background will help students be able to answer questions like, “Why does crime exist? How do societies decide to label some behaviors as criminal? What forms of punishment are most effective?” and others.

    The idea is that through the program, students will be able to see what really happens in the criminal justice system, versus what we see in the mainstream media. It also lends itself to engaging conversations about current events and gives students a better understanding of what is happening around them.

    Ms. Pace states that, “We designed this program to get people into jobs.” Jobs in the criminology field include: Criminal Law, Corrections, Victim Advocacy, Crime Data Analysis, Crime Profiling, and Policing to name a few. During their program, enrolled students are even encouraged to an internship in field in order to gain first-hand experience.

    In addition to the completion of “The Program of General Studies,” students are required to complete the criminology core requirements and sociology core electives. Courses within the criminology core requirements include Crime and Justice Systems, Introduction to Sociology, Criminology, Social Problems, Professional, Issues, Quantitative Research Methods, and Senior Seminar. There will also be several “Special Topics” classes offered, the first of which will be held on the CU Beckley Campus during the 2018 spring semester. The course will be titled CRIM 320 Serial Killers. Because this emphasis is under the Sociology Department, any courses labeled “CRIM” can be used as elective hours even if a student is not a declared criminology emphasis.

    There have been many exciting things happening within this new emphasis. Over fall break, students were given the opportunity to visit the Tran Alleghany Lunatic Asylum, and there have been numerous guest speakers in class for the students to gain knowledge from, several of which are Concord sociology alumni. Future plans include more guest speakers and tours of both Southern Regional Jail and local Federal Prison Facilities.

    Ms. Pace states that the ultimate goal is to grow the program and produce students that are “intelligent, engaged, and committed to social action.”

    For more information on the Criminology Emphasis at Concord University, contact Ms. Lori Pace at or Dr. Tracy Luff at or call 304-384-4242.

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