WVU Advance

Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering

Dr. James Nolan

Associate Professor of Division of Sociology and Anthropology


“We need to be engaged in the process, and it’s not just learning, depositing something into the minds of the student. But it’s having them wrestle with the concepts and coming to their own understanding of what it all means. I don’t believe that just knowing facts or remembering things is what education is about. It’s about coming to understand things a different way, you feel liberated when you get finished with it. Now I know something, I can do something with this. I also want them to believe in themselves, it’s not a matter of what a teacher thinks of you, that’s not what is important; it’s what you think of yourself and your abilities and capabilities. I try to encourage people to see the good that they have.”

James Nolan is an associate professor in the Division of Sociology and Anthropology at West Virginia University where he teaches courses in the area of crime and social control. His research currently focuses on police procedures, crime measurement, and hate crimes and homicide. Dr. Nolan’s 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. In 1993 Dr. Nolan was the project director of the community-policing component of the Weed & Seed Program in Wilmington, Delaware (one of the first 16 sites). 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.

Dr. Nolan is co author of the book The Violence of Hate: Confronting Racism, Anti Semitism, and Other Forms of Bigotry 3rd edition and co editor of the book The Essential Hate Crime Reader. In addition his research publications have appeared in the American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, The Justice Professional, Policing & Society, Criminal Justice Studies, Homicide Studies, Journal of Criminal Justice, and The American Sociologist. Dr. Nolan was the 2010 recipient of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) West Virginia Professor of the Year.


  • 1997 Ph.D. Psychoeducational Processes Temple University

Research Areas

  • Police procedures
  • Crime measurement
  • Hate crimes

Courses Taught

  • SocA 318 Hate Crime
  • SocA 234 The Criminal Justice System
  • SocA 389 Writing in Sociology
  • SocA 461 Issues Crime and Justice
  • SocA 488 The Capstone Experience
  • SocA 493 Inside Out Prison Exchange
  • SocA 518 Advanced Data Analysis

Faculty Insight

Dr. Nolan is a member of the ADVANCE IT Implementation Team. As a member of the team he will lead a social science study of the department-level change processes. He will also work with faculty members in each of the STEM departments to develop diversity plans. As a senior investigator on this project, Dr. Nolan’s role is to lead the department-level work and to conduct a social science study relating to organizational change in higher education.

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Partial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE IT Program under Award HRD-1007978. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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