Written by: Dr. Patricia Teddlie, Professor and Chair Emeritus
The Department was formed out of the Division of Social Sciences in 1973. The DSS contained History, Political Science, Sociology and Geography originally. Somewhere about 1970 the History Division broke off and formed a separate Department of History. This move left Sociology, Political Science and Geography as the Division of Social Sciences.
In 1973 the Division of Social Sciences was split into the Department of Sociology and Geography and the Department of Political Science. The first chair of the Department of Sociology and Geography was Dr. Phillip Carey, an African American. The first chair of Political Science was Dr. Carolyn Zinn.
In 1976 the Department of Sociology and Geography which housed BA degrees in Geography (since the 1950s) and Sociology (since the 1960s) applied to the ADHE
for degrees in Criminology and in Social Work. Both these disciplines were part of Sociology at the time. All courses in the department except Geography bore the SOC prefix. This prefix also included courses in Anthropology.
In 1976 the department petitioned the ADHE for an MA degree in Sociology and it was approved. That same year the department received LEAA money to develop an AA degree in Law Enforcement and it too was approved. This same year Sociology was added to the disciplines which participated in the Specialist degree in Community College teaching. This degree was administered by the College of Education.
At this time Dr. Phillip Carey resigned to take a position in the private sector and Dr. Jack Dison was appointed Chair. The department now included the following degrees : AA Law Enforcement, BA Geography, Sociology, Social Work and Criminology and MA Sociology. Dr. Jack Dison remained as Chair from 1976 until 1983.
In 1979 the Social Work program under the direction of Al Presley, LCSW, applied for and received national accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education. The accreditation was retroactive to Fall 1978. This accreditation was the first for a public institution in the State of Arkansas. Two private institutions had been accredited previously but no public institutions had received the designation. The name Social Work was added to the department name at this time making it the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Geography.
During this period of time the Department of Sociology and Geography was housed in the College of Liberal Arts of the University. In 1983 the College of Liberal Arts was combined with the College of Science and Mathematics to form the larger College of Arts and Sciences.
In 1983 Dr. Larry Clowers was appointed department Chair. He served until July 1, 1993 when Dr. Patricia Freudiger was appointed Acting Chair. The following year Dr. Freudiger was appointed Chair. She served until July 1, 2000. During her initial period of administration she acted on recommendations from a 1992 review by the State of Arkansas which suggested that the BA in Criminology was not adequately publicized and consequently suffered from lower enrollment than it should. Acting on the Review Committee's recommendations Dr. Freudiger asked that the department name be changed to Department of Criminology, Sociology, Social Work and Geography. Her reasoning for putting Criminology first was to draw attention to this underserved program. She also requested the CRIM designation for courses which were obviously criminology, e.g., Juvenile Delinquency. Under the direction of Drs. Dison and Salinger and Mr. Golden the Criminology curriculum was revised and integrated seamlessly with the AA Law Enforcement degree.
Dr. Freudiger requested that all Anthropology courses receive the ANTH prefix to distinguish them from Sociology courses. The decision to place Criminology first in the departmental name was not without controversy and has been questioned since that time. Undergraduate Sociology courses form the backbone of the department's student semester credit hours.
On July 1, 2000 Dr. Freudiger returned to faculty status and Dr. George Lord became department chair. Dr. Lord served from July 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003. During Dr. Lord's tenure as chair a Center for Social Research was established. The facilities were shared with Political Science but were housed in the Department of Criminology, Sociology, Social Work and Geography where they remain today.
The University announced in 2002 that the College of Arts and Sciences was being returned to its previous status as two separate colleges. There would be a College of Humanities and Social Sciences and a College of Science and Mathematics. Naturally the department was part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. At this time the Social Work division was invited to become part of the College of Nursing and Health Professions. The Social Work program had grown into a large program with over 200 majors, five full-time faculty and four adjunct faculty. It had a sizeable contract to train workers for the Division of Children and Family Services. When the split of the College of Arts and Sciences occurred the Department of Social Work was formed with Dr. Charles Joiner as its founding chair. It was housed in the College of Nursing and Health Professions.
In July 2003 Dr. George Lord resigned as Chair and returned to faculty status. He subsequently left the university to take an administrative position at another university. At this time Dr. Patricia Teddlie (formerly Dr. Patricia Freudiger) was appointed Interim Chair. In 2004 she was appointed Chair of the reorganized Department of Criminology, Sociology and Geography. She served until her retirement on July 1, 2006. During her second period of administration the Criminology program applied for and was approved for a Master of Criminal Justice degree in 2006. The program accepted its first students in the Fall of 2006.