Department of Government and Sociology

student leading classroom

In the Department of Government and Sociology, we will lead you on a path of exploration into the public sector— but we also lead you to a path of self-discovery as an active citizen in an ever-evolving world.  

From in depth courses on constitutionalism and public service systems to graduate degrees in public administration and criminal justice— you have endless opportunities to learn from some of the most dedicated and talented faculty at Georgia College. And your time in the programs won’t stop in the classroom. We cultivate a sense of independence and curiosity in our students, which leads to undergraduate research, public service projects and internships.

After graduating from Georgia College and the Department of Government and Sociology, you’ll be equipped with everything you need to not only enter into careers at the international to local levels— but to be a leader in the process. 

Message from the Chair

The Department of Government and Sociology at Georgia College is committed to providing all of its students with an education that offers in-depth study and a breath of experience through our programs.  Our faculty and curriculum focuses on engaging and challenging students to grow both academically and personally as they prepare for careers in their chosen fields or by continuing their studies at the graduate level.   The undergraduate programs include the BA major and minor in Criminal Justice, Political Science and Sociology, and a minor in Anthropology.  At the graduate level we offer two degrees, the Master of Public Administration and the Master of Science in Criminal Justice.  

With 26 dedicated full-time faculty, the department prides itself on promoting a student-centered learning environment in pursuit of intellectual excellence.  As active scholars in their field, our faculty have been recognized with outstanding teaching, research and service awards.  Our programs share a commitment to the highest standards of academic quality and faculty work closely with students as teacher-scholars to advance their goals.  By embracing our liberal arts mission, we strive to create an academic environment that aims to assist the development of life-long and independent learners. 

Our students have opportunities to become involved in undergraduate research, public service projects, and internships.  They learn in and beyond the classroom through civic engagement, study abroad, work on archaeology sites, etc.  Several courses offer students opportunities to work with local citizens and public school students in citizenship and community-based programming.

Once again, welcome to the Department of Government and Sociology and on behalf of the faculty I invite you to contact us with any questions and encourage you to learn more about our work!

Scott E. Buchanan, Ph.D.
Department Chair

Department Student News

Under the direction and guidance of Dr. Min Kim, Vivian Cassaniti presented her research paper, “Gender Gap in Social Welfare Policy Attitudes,” at the 2023 Georgia Academy of Science conference and won the award for Best Student Paper. Ms. Cassaniti's study explores the dynamics of gender differences in attitudes to public policy issues and how they shape American politics. This study sheds light on what gendered patterns of public opinion look like in the United States, what the underlying factors drive these patterns, and how gender interacts with other identities to influence political attitudes. To examine how partisanship and other identities influence gender disparities in social welfare policy attitudes, this study analyzes data from the 2021 General Social Survey. Congratulations to Dr. Kim and Ms. Cassaniti!

Hannah Holcomb is interning with the Georgia General Assembly during Spring Semester 2023. Above is a recent photograph of Hannah with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. 


(L-R): Jay Mock, Aidan Meaker, Dr. Min Kim, Addison Baxter, and Lisa Calvert

Congratulations to Min and four of his students. Under the direction of Min, the following four students presented at the 2022 Georgia Political Science Association meeting in Savannah.

Addison Baxter: "Polarization of Partisanship in America and Its Effects on the Opinion on Climate Change"
Aidan Meaker: "Does Religious Affiliation Influence Political Polarization in the United States?"
Jay Mock: "Americans’ Confidence in Congress"
Lisa Calvert: "Race, Political Party, and Attitudes on Cultural Issues"

Both Lisa and Addison were nominated for the prestigious Roger N. Pajari Award, which recognizes the best undergraduate paper presented at each year's GPSA conference. I'm happy to report that Lisa's paper titled, "Race, Political Party, and Attitudes on Cultural Issues," was selected for the 2022 Pajari Award. 

(L-R): James Watts, Kathryn Cooper, Jacobi Rogers, Lisa Calvert, Stelios Spirou, Connor Hilly, Emily Wyche, and Professor Adam Lamparello

In October 2022, The Georgia College Mock Trial Team, hosted by the Department of Government and Sociology, was invited to compete in the 12th Annual Owl Classic Invitational Tournament in Atlanta. The team had an impressive showing, placing just a few points short of winning the tournament. Two of the team's student attorneys, Stelios Spirou and Lisa Calvert, won Outstanding Attorney Awards (which are given to the top ten attorneys out of approximately fifty-six attorney participants). Also, two of the team's witnesses, Connor Hilly and Emily Wyche, won Outstanding Witness Awards (which are given to the top ten witnesses out of approximately sixty witness participants). Professor Adam Lamparello is the Mock Trial Team Advisor.

Anthropology minor Lauren Stone presented her ethnographic research project titled "Homemaking Through Green Spaces Among Refugees in Clarkston, Georgia" at the fourth annual "Posters at the Georgia State Capitol" event on March 30, 2022. The event was organized by the Georgia Undergraduate Research Collective and highlighted selected research projects from undergraduate students from colleges and universities throughout the state of Georgia. 

Political science major, Mr. Stelious Spirou, presented a research paper titled, "Rational Choice Theory, Social Background, and COVID Pandemic Attitudes," at the 2022 Southwestern Social Science Association meeting in San Antonio, Texas in April.



Alumni News

Political Science Alumnus Earns Ph.D.
Jeffrey Griffin, GC Class of 2013, a political science alumnus recently earned his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2022. Dr. Roger Coate was one of the members of Dr. Griffin's dissertation committee. Congratulations to Dr. Griffin!

Georgia College Graduate joins United States Air Force
Airman First Class Taylor Hyatt, (Political Science major and Georgia College graduate, class of 2020) recently enlisted in the United States Air Force.  In basic training, A1C Hyatt was tasked with the responsibilities of an academic monitor, ensuring his flight retained all the information to take the final exam to graduate.  Based on his exceptional performance on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test performance, A1C Hyatt began training to be a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) sensor operator, or a copilot in an unmanned aerial vehicle known as a drone.  A1C Hyatt recently passed his fundamentals air test and will likely be flying aircraft in the next few months.

Before enlisting in the Air Force, A1C Hyatt excelled as a Political Science major, serving as an intern for the Georgia House of Representatives majority caucus.  As part of his internship, he coordinated meetings, wrote speeches, and provided constituent services.  After his Georgia legislative internship, AIC Hyatt interned for the United States Congress in the office of Representative Austin Scott, where he recorded constituent attitudes in Georgia's 8th Congressional District.

Mr. Ralph Staffins (MPA Class of 2008) has been named to Georgia Trend's 2021 "40 Under 40."

Faculty News

Public Management Review recently published an article written by Dr. Min Kim, Associate Professor of Public Administration, and his co-authors  Minyoung Ku and Seong Soo Oh. The article is titled “Core-Periphery Structure and Power Imbalance in Disaster Management Networks: A Bayesian Approach to Interorganizational Response to a Public Health Disaster.” 

Professor Adam Lamparello has recently co-authored a book with former colleague Chuck MacLean, titled Justice For All: Repairing American Criminal Justice, which was just published by Routledge.

The Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council recently awarded to Dr. Sandra Godwin, and her co-author Helen Matthew Lewis, the Award for Excellence in Documenting Georgia's History. The award came as a result of the authors' new book A White Liberal College President in the Jim Crow South: Guy Herbert Wells and the YWCA at Georgia State College for Women, 1934-1953. The volume was published by Mercer University Press in 2021.

In addition, the same book has been nominated for two other awards by the Southern Historical Association and Georgia Historical Society

Faculty Profile

Dr. Max Harleman joined the Department in August 2022. Since his arrival, Dr. Harleman has contributed greatly to the Department. Below is a description of how Dr. Harleman uses technology in the classroom to help our students learn material in deeper and more profound ways.

As a new faculty member specializing in quantitative research techniques, the primary way that I use technology to transform the lives and careers of Georgia College students is to equip them with first-hand experiences developing their quantitative and statistical research skills. I do this by mentoring students to conduct their own research, and by involving them in my research. My comparative edge is that I apply quasi-experimental research designs using advanced statistical and econometric techniques to study the impact of public policies on various outcomes in the fields of environmental, energy, and public health policy. All of the research I conduct with students use the Stata and ArcGIS software.  

In my first semester, I mentored three undergraduate students in POLS 4999 to author individual empirical research studies. Two of the studies evaluated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the worsening of the opioid epidemic and unemployment in various industries. The third student produced an exceptional study on the impact of legalizing marijuana on DUI and drug possession arrests in neighboring and non-legalizing states. To conduct these studies, each of the students and I worked one-on-one in my office with the Stata and ArcGIS. This semester, I am involving two undergraduate students in POLS 4999 in my research on the impact of abandoned coal mines on nearby water quality and long-term economic outcomes, including local measures of wages and salaries. These students will collaborate and learn from not only myself, but also my colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Wisconsin.

My most basic goal is for each student that I work with to use technology to produce a novel empirical research study that they can utilize as part of their professional or academic portfolio. Some of my students may be inspired to further their education and pursue academic research as a career. The research that they conduct with me will represent writing samples and publications that will help them get admitted to excellent masters and PhD programs. For students that do not pursue further education or academic careers, quantitative research skills are still incredibly valuable. Many non-academic careers will require our students to use technology to gather information, present that information in an organized and compelling manner, and use their findings to chart a path forward for their company, government, or non-profit agency.




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Criminal Justice Podcast

Voices of the Returned: Life After Incarceration is a podcast created by Criminal Justice Associate Professor Dr. Alesa Liles and her students. The podcast features formerly incarcerated individuals and others impacted by mass incarceration. To listen and learn more, visit here