Our History

Sociology Program

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In 1948, Florida A&M University established the Department of Sociology and began offering coursework in Sociology with some courses related to Anthropology and Social Welfare. In the 1950’s, a growing academic interest in Criminology and Juvenile Delinquency became a focus in preparing students for employment. In the 1960s, the State of Florida established the Division of Youth Services, the Department addressed the need to expand the curriculum to include core courses in Juvenile Delinquency, Corrections, and Law Enforcement.  Students could also receive a minor degree in Corrections (now considered a substantive area of study).  In 1972, the Department was renamed the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Human Services. (See more)

Criminal Justice Program

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Continued development in the field of Criminology ushered in programmatic changes with the broadening of course offerings in Social Welfare and Criminal Justice. The expansion of the Social Welfare program offered courses in the area of social sciences and growth in the Criminal Justice industry. The Department was reorganized to form two separate majors, Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Bachelor of Criminal Justice. In 1990, the Department of Social Work and the Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Social Welfare detached into independent programs within the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities (formerly known as College of Arts and Sciences). Henceforth creating the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. (See more)


Clubs and Organizations


Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) International Sociology Honor Society
Tau of Florida Chapter
Advisor: Dr. Helen Brethauer-Gay

Lambda Alpha Epsilon (LAE)
Alpha Mu Upsilon Chapter
Advisor: Dr. Felecia Dix-Richardson

National Association of Black in Criminal Justice (NABCJ)
Advisor: Dr. Felecia Dix-Richardson

Sociology and Criminal Justice Club
Advisor: Mrs. Carla Adams Lippett




The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice is committed to excellence. This is demonstrated by faculty and students in academic and research achievements.

Faculty in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice are a talented group of professionals. The Faculty seek to distinguish themselves both within and outside the university community.  

These activities align with FAMU’s Strategic Priority 2 Goal 1: “Promote faculty excellence by recruiting, supporting and retaining a diverse faculty with a commitment to teaching, research, and community engagement consistent with a doctoral-research university.”  The following are current significant highlights:

  • Dr. Phyllis Gray-Ray, Co-Investigator and Lead Social Scientist (2016-2021). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), (Larry Robinson, PI). Cooperative Agreement awarded ($15,496,597) to create the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (CCME).

  • Dr. Phyllis Gray-Ray: Grant Awarded ($1,500,000) to conduct a study on “The Effects of Social Capital and Cultural Models on the Retention and Degree Attainment of Women and Minority Engineering Undergraduates."

  • Dr. Mila Turner, Opinion Contributor - 8/13/2021 - article published in the popular political newsletter, The Hill. The title of the article is "Building a culture of environmental preparedness at HBCUs." (click HBCU_culture)

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice is committed to ensuring programs, activities and experiences that enhance our students’ academic curriculum. Students participating in these activities demonstrate the highest level of excellence. The achievements align with FAMU’s Strategic Priority 1: Goal 3: “Increase the proportion of student completing high-impact co-curricular experiences.” The following are highlights of some of these achievements:

  • During 2019-2020, LAE and NABCJ  hosted numerous forums and symposiums focused on careers in criminal justice  enforcement.

  • Members of LAE and NABCJ served as tutors/mentors at Bond Elementary School.

  • Students published articles in Southern Sociological Society and made presentations on various issues pertaining to racial attitudes and African Americans in America.

Faculty in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice are committed to teaching, research and community engagement. Numerous faculty members have presented research at conferences and completed works for publication in books and journals pertaining to African Americans and related issues. Other members also participated in community initiatives. They participate in many activities to accomplish these achievements. The following are a few highlight topics:

  • Marijuana legalization and racial disparities
  • Drug and law enforcement laws in African American communities
  • Police use of excessive force against African Americans
  • African-American collegians view of law enforcement
  • Black male disproportionality in the criminal justice system
  • Youth and Law community initiative

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice sponsored a brown-bag luncheon event: The Anatomy of Social Justice Challenges in Our Community, on March 30, 2022 in the Grand Ballroom. The guest speaker and facilitator was Sergeant Scherri Bryant of the Tallahassee Police Deapartment. The event provided an opportunity for open dialogue and question/answer interaction with Sgt. Bryant and the students. Also in attendance from TPD was Captain Danielle Davis. We had over 100 attendees between students and faculty. Lunch boxes and drinks were provided by Metz Food Service. We look forward to future opportunities to interact with the awesome students of our department.

On April 22, 2022, Dr. Phyllis Welch, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Chair, and Dr. Annie Gainous Thompson, Assistant Professor, represented Florida A&M University (FAMU) at the 2nd Annual HBCU Summit on the beautiful campus of Florida Memorial University (FMU), in Miami Gardens, Florida. The HBCU participants were FMU, FAMU, Bethune-Cookman University (BCU), and Edward Waters University (EWU).  The attached is a summary of the event.  HBCU Summit

Contact Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice

Phone: (850) 599-3316,  Fax: (850) 599-8541
1740 South Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
Perry Paige #403
Tallahassee, Florida 32307