hartman13Dr. Laura Hartman,
Professor of Sociology

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 434-791-5756
Office: Frith Hall 414

Several of Dr. Laura Hartman’s Sociology students have been in prison, and she drove them there. Literally drove them, for a field trip.  “The staff members do a great job with our tours,” she says enthusiastically. “It’s not a ‘Scared Straight’ approach, where the prisoners are out to scare kids into the straight life. In these visits, the talk is informative for the students.”  She explains, “Our Sociology students learn about the daily operations and activities of the prison, and they also have the opportunity to discuss with a select group of inmates factors that the convicts feel contributed to their incarceration.

Among other topics, we talk about what things we might be able to do to prevent the inmates from going down the wrong path.”  She adds that the inmates tell them that it’s unusual to have an opportunity to be listened to so seriously, and they appreciate the visits.  In fact, it was a field trip that hooked Dr. Hartman originally, getting her interested in Sociology: “I had taken an ‘Intro to Sociology’ class at a community college, and we did a field project at the juvenile court. We studied a case, took a tour, learned about the court … and I found it all fascinating.”

It was in graduate school, at UT-Austin, that Hartman realized that she did not want to work at, as she puts it, “an institution that emphasizes research. I much prefer to teach.”  She likes the Averett students — their minds and their personalities. “Our students are gentle, kind, likable young people. Most of them are willing to keep an open mind, which is very helpful. For instance, even if they didn’t necessarily want to take the class, they’re still willing to give it a try.”  That’s usually all it takes.


Doctor of Philosophy, Sociology, University of Texas at Austin

Master of Arts, Sociology, University of Texas at Austin

Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, Arizona State University


wray2Dr. Steven Wray,
Professor of Sociology/Criminal Justice

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 434-791-5769
Office: Frith Hall 311

Dr. Steven Wray can’t help you learn to fire weapons, but if you’re interested in working in law enforcement, he’s your man for the other training you need. “If you graduate from our program with a B or C average,” he says, “you’ll be scoring right at the top of the entrance tests that police academies give. Written tests, not shooting.”

The best part is, even though the first course in Criminal Justice is a junior-level offering, Wray offers a Crime Scene Investigation class … to freshmen.  “I use actual crime cases, with great photographs, from my [forensic] work in New York,” he says, “and the students walk through things virtually, looking for clues left and right. They learn what it takes to conduct an investigation successfully.”

Sociology plays a role, as well, he says, “Sociology is the place where data collection and analysis in Criminal Justice come from. Also, all police departments desperately want to hire people who can write that way, with training in Sociology.”  Wray says that at least six Averett graduates have gone on to the FBI. Some did basic police work first, then served as detectives and then went to the FBI. Another graduate was also in the Aviation program and now is in the FBI, flying the Texas border.

“We have a lot of Aviation students — many in Criminal Justice want to fly, and we learned that the FBI thought it makes sense to hire agents who already knew how to fly. So we’ve put together that double major.”  He adds that one recent female graduate did a double major, Criminal Justice and Sociology, and she’s now working with a federal crime program pursuing serial killers.  With his extensive background in crime investigation — and an irrepressibly wicked sense of humor — every Wray class will be interesting, no matter what your major is.


Postgraduate School of Medicine, forensic death investigation, New York University

Southern Police Institute, homicide investigation; University of Louisville Graduate Study, Russian Studies; Harvard University

Juris Doctor, Washington & Lee University

Doctor of Philosophy, Medical Sociology/Social Gerontology, University of Florida

Master of Education, Adult Education/Social Sciences, University of Florida

Bachelor of Education, Secondary Education/Social Sciences, University of Florida