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James Nolan, Ph.D. **

Chair & Professor - Sociology


Dr. Nolan teaches courses in the area of crime and social control. His research currently focuses on neighborhood dynamics, police procedures, crime measurement, hate crimes, and equity and inclusion in higher education.

His professional career began as a police officer in Wilmington, Delaware. In 13 years with that department, he worked in a variety of divisions, including patrol, community policing, organized crime and vice, and planning and research. He is a 1992 graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy. Just prior to joining the faculty at West Virginia University, Dr. Nolan worked for the FBI as a unit chief in the Crime Analysis, Research and Development Unit that provided management oversight for the National Hate Crime Data Collection Program. 

His recent publications have appeared in the American Behavioral Scientist; Journal of Quantitative Criminology; Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice; Justice, Research & Policy; Information Sciences; Policing & Society; Criminal Justice Studies; Homicide Studies; Journal of Criminal Justice, and The American Sociologist. Dr. Nolan earned a Ph.D. in psychoeducational processes from Temple University. His graduate work focused on the study of group and social processes.

Selected Publications

Levin, J. & Nolan, J. (2016). The Violence of Hate: Understanding Harmful Forms of Bias and Bigotry, 4th Edition. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Akiyama, Y., Nolan, J. Darrah, M, Rahem, M.A., & Wang, L. (2016). A Method for Measuring Consensus Within Groups: An Index of Disagreement via Conditional Probability. Information Sciences. Elsevier

Nolan, J., Haas, S., & Napier, J. (2011). Estimating the Impact of Classification Error on the “Statistical Accuracy” of Uniform Crime Reports. Journal of Quantitative Criminology.

Nolan, J., Haas, S., Turley, E., Stump, J. & LaValle, C. (2015) Assessing the Validity of Hate Crime Reporting Using NIBRS Data. American Behavioral Scientist.

Nolan, J., Conti, N., & Colyer, C. (2011). A Public Safety Process: Sustained Dialogue for Situational Policing, in Van til, J. Lohmann, R. and Ford, D. (eds.) Sustained Dialogue and Public Deliberation. Columbia University Press

Nolan, J., Kirby, J., Althouse, R. (2011). Facilitating Neighborhood Growth: A Common Sense Public Safety Response from the Relational Paradigm. In Van Til, J., Lohmann, R. & Ford, D. (eds.). Sustained Dialogue  and Public Deliberation. Columbia University Press.

Nolan, J., McDevitt, J., Cronin, S., and Farrell, A. (2004). Learning to See Hate Crimes: A Framework for Understanding and Clarifying Ambiguities in Bias Crime Classification, Criminal Justice Studies, 17 (1).

Nolan, J., Conti, N., & McDevitt, J. (2004). Situational Policing: Neighborhood Development and Crime Control. Policing & Society.

Nolan, J. (2002). From Vice Cop to Sociology Prof: A Long Journey to a Familiar Place in The American Sociologist, 33(2).

Courses Taught 

  • SOCA 232 Criminology
  • SOCA 234 The Criminal Justice System
  • SOCA 318 Hate Crime
  • SOCA 461 Issues Crime and Justice
  • SOCA 493 Inside Out Prison Exchange