Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work & Criminal Justice

Fitzgerald House, Room 211
614 Pioneer Dr.
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2420
fax: (248) 370-4608

Social Work
Fitzgerald House, Room 251
614 Pioneer Dr.
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(248) 370-2371

Community Engagement

Successful partnerships with the community have always been an integral dimension of The Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice’s approach to service, academic programming, training, research, and consultation.

ASQ Developmental Screening Help Me Grow
Oakland University participated in evaluating the success of the Help Me Grow program and making sure the program is operating by it’s original plan,  along with accessing the strengths and weaknesses of the program.  Oakland University created eight reports containing extensive data to discover that indeed, services are being provided. The data used to make this accusation was formed  from marketing efforts, along with parents, children and other partners within the community. From this study, improvements were made in programs and community planning. In order to receive financial aide needed to participate in this research, Help Me Grow SE is teaming up with Great Start Programs of Wayne, Macomb and Oakland Counties to achieve a goal that universal screening is provided to all children in Southeast Michigan.

Oakland County Great Start Collaborative-Oakland Schools
Another aspect of the Community Engagement event Oakland University took part in was to help Oakland Schools’ Early Childhood Programs make use of the 32k Grant received for the 2013-2014 school year from the Michigan Department of Education. The purpose of this grant is to provide child care and early childhood programs with high-quality support to ensure young children success in future education.

Oakland County Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Program
With assistance from Oakland University, Oakland County’s MIECHV community partners were able to provide evaluation services and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) data analysis for Local Leadership Group (LLG) for Oakland County. These efforts provided implementation analysis and data collection for LLG membership, along with parent engagement, it’s recommendations, and CQI Project Leadership components.

Social Innovation Funds (SIF) United Way Oakland University was also able to provide assistance of evaluating programs of eight different agencies funded SIF dollars through United Way of Southeastern Michigan for school readiness.

South Oakland Shelter
Oakland University offered assistance to the South Oakland Center by managing a program to analyze their transitional housing, along with their self-sufficiency program. With guidance from OU, the South Oakland Shelter was able to form both short and long-term goals, review information and resolve the effectiveness by the program. Director of Oakland University’s Social Work Department, Maria Beam, along with social work student, Sylvain Theriault were both participants in this community-based activity.

Continuing Education Social Work
Director of Oakland University Social Work Department, Maria Beam and Director of Field and Student Support of Social Work, Stephanie Brandimarte have worked to assist social workers from community based organizations, hospitals, schools, social services, public institutions, non-profits and social services to receive continuing education.  When these CEU requirements were met, Michigan Social Workers Continuing Education Collaborative approved these credits. 

The Michigan Department of Human Services
Along with several other social work programs throughout Michigan, the Oakland University Social Work Program has collaborated with the Department of Human Services to create a Child Welfare Certificate program. The goal of this program was to teach students in social work to be able to provide child welfare services that will be beneficial.  With this activity, students  received a chance to experience 400 hours in field placement in a DHS office including working with tribal child welfare agencies or a private child placing agency. This provided students with an knowledge of child welfare positions and allowed them to omit various sections of their standard training in Child Welfare.

Today, the Oakland University Social Work Department remains in association with the Child Welfare Certificate.

Southeast Oakland Coalition
Oakland University has formed a great relationship with the Southeast Oakland Coalition.  The Southeast Oakland Coalition provided internship placements for OU students. The executive director of the Alliance of Coalitions for Health, Julie Brenner offered student, Kym Byrd a position on planning committee. Kym helped raise awareness on drug use, abuse and related instances of deaths. Through the Criminal Justice Club, Kym also participated in Families Against Narcotics (FAN)’s partnership with Coalitions to plan an event.

The event was held during the Fall 2014 Semester in the Oakland Center. Representatives from local agencies attended to hand out  brochures and information to students on the assistances residents are receiving from the community. A formal presentation was given after a networking activity. In this presentation, information such as what community services would be of assistance, how students and the public can contribute, percentage of the population affected by drug use.

The “Love Doctor”
One initiative of the community engagement events was a presentation by the “Love Doctor”,  Terri Orbuch. Orbuch is a Sociology professor at Oakland University, social psychologist, and author of several books on marriage, relationships, and financial topics.  She is well-known and shares her knowledge with the community through mass media.  She has conducted a NIH funded research project focusing on “The Early Years of Marriage.” Dr. Orbuch has followed up with 373 married couples over a 27 year span. Observing the couples, Dr. Orbuch was able to show the transformation of social science research into encouraging factors to help enrich people’s lives and communities along with benefitting interpersonal relationships.

US Coast Guard Collaboration
Ten Criminal Justice students received an opportunity to engage in an hands-on experience with the US Coast Guard. Students were able to gain hand-on experience in applied intelligence analysis.  Goals of this project included conducting and sharing an Area Maritime Security Assessment among all Federal, State, and Local law enforcements/intelligence agencies.  Southeast MI Area Maritime Security Committee and the Department of Homeland Security approval. Collection of information on ports, docks, ferries, and ships from Alpena, MI to Toledo, OH on both US and Canadian sides by Coast Guard field agents. Oakland University assessed each site’s security level, risks and vulnerability. 

Ferndale Police Auxiliary
Provides training law enforcement officers (e.g., how to respond to calls involving individuals with mental illness, crisis intervention techniques), as well as create relationships that benefit my colleagues at OU.

Social action activities of Detroit area Muslims
Research to explore the political and social action activities of Detroit area Muslims

The SAVE Taskforce Oakland County
Serves a member to the task force that focuses on protecting the elder and individuals with disabilities from of elder abuse

Consulting to Michigan Advocacy Groups
Provide consulting Michigan advocacy group on juvenile sex-offenders, attending an annual legislator education day at the state capital, and working with the organizations leaders to outline organizational strategies for legislative change 

Coalition for a Useful Registry, Professional Advisory Board
Serves as the Consulting Member for the Coalition for a Useful Registry, Professional Advisory Board

Prevent, Prepare, Respond, Recover (P2R2)
Development of a systematic multidisciplinary educational program for public and private sector entities to manage the array of natural and human created disasters and events that pose security and operational threats, legal liabilities, and organizational, reputational, community and individual level recovery challenges. This program is titled P2R2. The goal is to integrate this effort with our program’s curricular initiatives (specifically security), to generate internship and capstone opportunities for students, and research/revenue opportunities for the CRJ program.

Violence & Abuse Resource Consortium (VARC)
The Violence and Abuse Resource Consortium (VARC) at Oakland University serves as a clearinghouse for university, local, state, and national anti-violence information. The VARC is a dynamic, collaborative resource connecting students, faculty, practitioners, and community members conducting anti-violence work.  VARC's mission is to promote university and community outreach, facilitate education and training, advance interdisciplinary research, and inform public policy on violence and abuse. 


  • Create a network for collaboration between university researchers and community anti-violence practitioners
  • Promote prevention and intervention services, activities, and events in the campus and local community
  • Provide opportunities for student engagement with community anti-violence agencies
  • Provide opportunities for student engagement with community anti-violence agencies`

Alternatives For Girls
Program Committee Board Member for Alternative for Girls, a community based organization serving at-risk homeless youth.

Global Psychological Services
Serves as an advisor to an organization who places social workers into many schools throughout southeastern Michigan.  Works with the organization on development school social work competencies along with job performance   measurement and program effectiveness measurements.

Life in Recovery
Students and Prof. met at Oakland University, ACHC office in Pontiac and the 52-3 District Courthouse to develop a program for members in the community suffering from addiction. Oakland University has assisted Oakland County with developing evidence based practice model for a voluntary, awards based program to support clients to maintain a sober lifestyle. Intake and exit reviews, policy manual, marketing brochures, website, monthly support reports, job descriptions for future employees of program and training for community partners were developed, printed and presented in a packet to community stakeholders. The program is supported by grant money through the ACHC, RESTORE foundation and Oakland County ret. Judge Sosnick.

Michigan Department of Corrections Steering Committee
Serve as a member at bi-monthly meetings held at the corrections office in Pontiac.  Various community organizations are represented to develop programs and community resources to decrease recidivism.  Oakland University students are able to gain experience and exposure to the parole population through providing them with Job Connect, interview skill training, dressing for success and support.

Global Experiences For Students
Oakland University has partnered up with Hebrew University to form the Summer Archaeological Dig Study Abroad program in Israel. The program is led by Anthropology and Religious Studies Professor Michael Pytik, Professor Emeritus (Richard Stamps) of Anthropology and Jon Carroll, Professor of Anthropology. A total of 58 archeology students have took part in this summer learning experience.

Organized Archaeology Day at State Capitol
This day of student and faculty reports of research in the local community is attended by people from local historical societies.  Professor Emeritus Stamps and Professor Carroll organized students to create a display on Archaeology Day in Lansing at the state museum. Archaeology day has a large public attendance

Troy Historical Village Weekend Excavation (annually for three years)
At the request of the Troy Historical Village, Professor Emeritus Stamps and Suzanne Spencer-Wood directed a three year weekend excavation at the Troy Corners historic parsonage site that included both students and community volunteers.  A student in Dr. Spencer-Wood’s class, Jasmine Aten, created an exhibit on the excavation for the Troy Historical Village at the opening of the parsonage and church that were moved to the village. She and Dr. Spencer-Wood also wrote articles about the site for a newsletter Troy Historical Society

Troy Historical Village
At the request of the Troy Historical Village, Professor Emeritus Stamps and Assistant Professor Carroll have directed excavations at the Troy Corners Niles-Barnard historical tavern site

Field School Excavating the ice house of Governor Wisner’s 1840s Mansion
Professor Emeritus Stamps has directed a field school excavating the ice house at this historical mansion , as well as excavations at two local school sites, and at the Austin farm and in Dodge House storage mound on OU’s campus