Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work & Criminal Justice

Varner Hall, Room 518
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2420
fax: (248) 370-4608

Social Work
512 Varner Hall
(248) 370-2371

SOCAN home banner
Due to the suspension of in-person course instruction, department faculty and support staff are working remotely and can be contacted via email.
General advising questions can be directed to
For information and resources pertaining to Covid-19, please see OU's dedicated website:


Elizabeth Wicker, a student who is majoring in Criminal Justice, came in second place at the ISACA Detroit Scholarship Competition 2021. Information Systems Audit and Control Association is an international professional association focused on IT governance.

Dr.Jay Meehan, an influential researcher in the field of policing, has been awarded the 2021 Outstanding Mentor of the Year by OU's Graduate Council. This award recognizes his long-standing dedication to his students.

Noted relationships scholar, Dr. Terri Orbuch, provided commentary on WXYZ's evening news. In the segment, she addressed the challenges faced by quarantining couples.

A recent news story drew on the expertise of Dr. Watoii Rabii. Dr. Rabii was featured among other nationally recognized scholars speaking on behalf of bail reform in the criminal justice system.

Drs. Watoii Rabii, Jo Reger, and Jay Meehan were the panelists for OU's Center for Civic Engagement Office Hours in September. They gave insightful presentations and engaged in a lively Q&A on the significance of protests in social movements. 

Dr. Maria Beam, who developed the OU Food Pantry last year, recently published an article on food insecurity among students. As a result of media attention, she was invited to present some of her important findings to educators from around the country.

Sociology major, Jared Barnett, was featured in a Fox 2 News segment discussing his contributions to Kresge Library's COVID-Archives.

In June, the Pontiac Oral History Project was awarded a grant to compile oral histories of the COVID-19 crisis, and to transform those stories into a staged performance. The team for this project includes Dr. Graham Cassano and, over the course of the next six months, the team will gather stories of struggle, resistance, and resilience during the age of the pandemic. The stories will become part of will a dramatic piece to be performed by OU students at the Pontiac Little Arts Theatre in April, 2021.

Dr. Burgess-Proctor, who serves as a consultant to WSU's Center for Behavioral Health & Justice, along with two other colleagues, published a report on the experiences of women in Michigan jails. The study examined the demographic makeup of women and tracked their experiences with a variety of support services.

Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice

Department Overview

A unit of the College of Arts and Sciences, the department is home to four major programs: sociology, anthropology, social work, and criminal justice.

The sociology, anthropology, and criminal justice majors lead to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, while the social work major leads to a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. The department offers open minors in sociology, anthropology, and criminal justice, as well as a minor in child welfare for social work students. The department also houses three interdisciplinary concentrations open to all majors: archaeology, gerontology, and addiction studies.

Ours is a dynamic and collegial department consisting of sociologists, anthropologists, social workers, and criminologists. Our faculty embrace both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and have solid yet diverse theoretical orientations. .

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice at Oakland University is committed to inclusion and diversity in its broadest sense. We join the resounding call for social justice both nationally and globally. As such, we remain, as individuals and as a department, committed to eradicating all kinds of discrimination and hate speech, and all forms of inequality.

In keeping with the values of our disciplines and the Department, we will continue to adhere to principles of equity and social justice by addressing the intersection of power, privilege and oppression in our interactions with others and standing against all forms of injustice both within the institution and in the broader community. As part of our responsibility to confront and dismantle institutional and systemic oppression, we pledge to:

  1. Continue to actively work to dismantle structures and ideologies that uphold, normalize, naturalize, and legitimate/justify all forms of inequality.
  2. Educate and inspire students to engage with research and activities that promote a more just society.
  3. Collaborate with university and community partners to develop and disseminate knowledge about the causes and consequences of inequality.
  4. Continue to support and encourage research agendas and methodologies committed to challenging and exposing all forms of injustice.
  5. Commit and advocate to address unconscious bias in the search, hiring, and retention processes and to increase diversity in the department.