A new partnership merges public service and immigration studies to help and support the community on important issues like reducing gun violence.
The Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Augusta University will celebrate its new Center for Social Science Research with a launch event Tuesday, March 26. The event begins at 2:30 p.m. in the Jaguar Student Activities Center (JSAC) Coffeehouse with an overview the center, followed by an introduction to the center’s fellows for the 2019-2020 academic year and networking opportunities for social science faculty.
“The Center for Social Science Research is the consolidation of two existing centers,” said Dr. Allison Foley, director of the center. “The Center for Public Service and the Center for Immigration Studies existed independently of each other while we were Augusta State University, and came together around consolidation.”
The Center for Social Science Research will expand its mission of research support for community organizations, with the addition of social science research.
Maintaining partnerships with agencies like the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and some local courts, the center will continue to assist with activities like program evaluations, needs assessment and data analysis, but will also offer more opportunities for faculty to get involved with community-engaged research.
Foley attributes this new opportunity to the arrival of Pamplin College Dean Elna Green, who was able to initiate new internal funding programs. Additionally, a departmental consolidation in 2018 helped the new Department of Social Sciences connect social sciences faculty.
“When Political Science, and Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Social Work were brought together, we had this new opportunity to work more closely with people who are still social scientists but in different disciplines,” Foley said.
The two fellows, who will receive support to continue their research for the upcoming academic year, are Dr. Todd Powell-Williams, associate professor of sociology, and Dr. Mary-Kate Lizotte, associate professor of political science.
Powell-Williams is working closely with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office on research related to body-worn cameras, community-oriented policing, officer perception, and specific initiatives associated with gun-related aggravated assaults to develop new policies and structural supports.
“This is something that we think we can assist with, but we want to make sure that we take our time getting to really know what it is that they’re already doing, and to train ourselves on how to work effectively across the gap between practice and academia,” Foley said.
Lizotte will use her fellowship period to continue working with colleagues from other institutions to research and analyze people’s attitudes about militarization and military intervention across the globe. Ultimately, the goal is to understand what leads people to be supportive or opposed to different types of military intervention and present this information in international settings.
The fellows will provide additional information about their projects during the launch event Tuesday afternoon.
For more information about the Center for Social Science Research, contact Dr. Allison Foley at (706) 737-1735.