Academics & the Arts

Social Sciences

Our Criminal Justice major is one of the 2+2 programs offered by Grand View in collaboration with Des Moines Area Community College. This program is designed to provide students with an understanding of the criminal justice system in America as well as some of the principle psychological, social, and ethical issues that are of concern to those who work in this field.

The Social Work major prepares you for the professional practice of social welfare administration and counseling, with a focus on the study of organized means of providing basic support services for vulnerable individuals and groups. You'll work effectively with diverse populations in home-based services, schools, medical settings, mental health or substance abuse centers, and correctional institutions, and be competitive at both public and private agencies. The program gives you the credentials to work in the field upon graduation and/or to pursue graduate education, particularly the MSW.

A major in Human Services provides a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to the study, understanding, and resolution of individual and social problems. This program prepares you for entry-level positions in the helping professions.

The Organizational Studies major is intended to serve the degree completion needs of those students, particularly adult learners, who already have earned a significant block of transfer credit, often with a major emphasis in business organization/management and technical skill. This major enables those students to integrate the studies they already have completed into a baccalaureate degree major and to enrich these studies through exposure to course work in the arts, social sciences, humanities and the sciences.

The Paralegal Studies major draws much of its coursework from the business, political studies and sociology areas, which is enhanced with additional focus in one of the following concentrations: Business and Human Resource Management, Criminology, or Public Administration.

The Political Studies major is an interdisciplinary program providing students with the academic background to enter law school or for a wide variety of professional positions. Graduates find careers in areas such as government, civil service, domestic or international business, the diplomatic service or further study in graduate or professional programs.

The Psychology major serves as a general introduction to the discipline of psychology, with special emphasis on counseling psychology, preparation for undergraduate research, and preparation for graduate school.


Dr. Ahmadu Baba-Singhri, professor of sociology
Welcome to Grand View!  I teach Sociology, Criminology and Social Problems courses.  I use the learning-by-doing method and the Baba-Singhri KUA (Know it. Understand it. Apply it) model in my classes, and I work with area community social services to provide first-hand learning experiences to my students.  Education is the quest for the unknown and the processing of the known.  I enjoy reading, debate and travel.  I look forward to seeing you in class!

Dr. Cathy Beck-Cross, assistant professor of sociology
Welcome to Grand View! I teach sociology courses, and I'm in the process of developing a new Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program for GV. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to develop this program, and expect to begin enrolling students in the fall of 2015. I have practiced in individual/family and community social work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, child protection, and preK-12 public education. I also have a strong passion for community organization and believe the united work of many helps increase the likelihood of social change. I also have a special interest in suicide prevention. In my free time I like to practice yoga, walk, travel, and make decadent cheesecakes.

Dr. Guy Cunningham, associate professor of psychology
I have been at Grand View for seven years and I thoroughly enjoy teaching my students in classes such as Addictive Behaviors, Stress and Anxiety, Personality and Human Sexuality, and Logos honor courses. I believe the greatest responsibilities of an instructor are to tap into intellectual curiousity and encourage intellectual integrity.  I also believe the latter is something of which we are all capable, and is perhaps the single most important skill that higher education can develop. I'm a book and movie lover, a bad guitarist, amateur chef, and a football fan from the deepest part of the deep south (and I sound like it too!). Faculty Website

Ammertte Deibert, professor of sociology
Hello! I have taught at GV since 1988, and I usually teach Introduction to Sociology, Cross Cultural Perspectives, Social psychology and Group Dynamics, among others. Each student comes to the classroom with a socialized experience connected to knowledge. An invitation to sociology is an invitation to a special kind of knowledge, a special kind of passion. As a professor, I'm the facilitator of that passion, while involving students and encouraging critical thinking skills. Experiential learning is a great educator, and that is one reason why I have visited over 30 countries. I look forward to working with you!


Dr. James Hanson, professor of psychology, department chair
Welcome to psychology!  We'll work together in Human Development, Marriage and Family, Cognitive Psychology, and Logos honor courses.  The art of teaching involves passionate interaction, which is what students encounter in my classes.  I favor black and white photography, and I like to fish and go running.  I hope you're excited for your college years at Grand View - we are excited to have you join us.  See you soon!


Dr. Bryan McQuide, assistant professor of political studies, department chair
Welcome to political science! I teach courses in American politics and public policy, including national government, public policy, state and local government and research methods for social sciences.  In my classes I encourage my students to become critical thinkers, challenging the assumptions we have about our American political institutions and how public policies are formulated.  My research interests are in interest group lobbying influence, legislative deliberation of new issues and technology policy.  In my free time I enjoy running, biking, camping and hiking.


Dr. Matthew Moore, assistant professor of sociology, department chair
Welcome to Grand View!  I enjoy helping students learn about sociology and criminal justice.  I teach classes in race and ethnicity, social problems, police and courts, criminological theory, and corrections and penology.  My teaching goal is to have students question society and the social institutions that we have created.  To aid in helping students gain an understanding of our social institutions and how they operate I utilize a variety of learning tools, such as data, charts, pictures, and videos.


Dr. Thomas Peterson, associate professor of psychology
Welcome!  I teach General Psychology, Theories of Counseling, and Psychology and Religion here at GV.  To me, good teaching requires preparation and some inspiration, which helps fuel the class and move students forward.  I do domestic violence training at the Des Moines shelter and I'm the proud owner of two bulldogs: Max and Brooser.  I'm also an avid, but inept, golfer.  See you in class!


Douglas Wiig, professor of political science
I like to present concepts and then challenge students to think critically in applying and understanding them. I use a lot of hands-on application and I promote the use of technology as a resourse. I am most proud of the number of graduates in political/paralegal studies who are employed in the profession or are successful in graduate and law school. I enjoy camping and fishing, and I'm eager to help you meet your future goals.


Dr. Aisha White, assistant professor of social work
Hello and welcome! I teach sociology courses and I am helping to develop a new Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at GV. I will serve as Field Education Director for the BSW program. I am very excited about this program and look forward to working with students and our agency partners as we develop transformative field education experiences! My background is in community and school-based social work, serving youth and families. I believe education is an essential tool for self-empowerment.  In my free time, I love activities involving dance, yoga and I’m learning to crotchet. I look forward to walking with you along your educational journey at GV!

Dr. Joshua Woods, assistant professor for psychology
Welcome! I teach a wide range of classes from Cognitive Psychology to Sport Psychology. I sincerely believe psychology is the most important topic you will ever study. You can see its influence in the clothes and music you choose to shape your identity. It is what fuels the driving force for your motivations (or perhaps sometimes lack thereof) in every decision you make. And your brain is the most complex miraculously engineered three pound lump of cells the universe as ever known. Each psychology class is like a key that opens up an entirely new world of wonder. My primary area of research is focused on trying to understand why false memories often feel as true and real as authentic memories.

Dr. Jill Sudak-Allison, assistant professor of human services
Welcome to Human Services and Psychology!  I teach Introduction to Human Services and Internship.  The Human Services curriculum provides you with a great opportunity not only to understand the history and needs of social services but to get out in the field and experience it first-hand.  Our students have had amazing transformative experiences.  I am excited for you to engage in this and learn about those you serve and more importantly yourself! I am in the process of starting a National Honors Club, TAU for students, please ask me about becoming a member.  I have 24 years of clinical/human service experience as a counselor and over 14 years of college teaching, mentoring and training.  I enjoy watching pro sports, my sons playing sports, traveling, walking and warm weather.  I look forward to getting to know you and supporting you in your educational interests and career success.


The Rasmussen Center for Community Advancement Professions is home to the faculty and most courses in the Behavioral Sciences areas.  To get a glimpse of this state-of-the art, award-winning facility, go to the Virtual Tour. (link not mobile friendly)

Awards and Accomplishments

Cathy Beck-Cross, assistant professor of sociology, was recently selected as the recipient of the 2013 IEREA Distinguished Research Award by the Iowa Educational Research and Evaluation Association. Her paper is titled Individual, Family, School, and Community Predictors of High School Male Suicidal Behaviors: An Analysis of 2010 Iowa Youth Survey Data. The honor means she will share her research at both the state and national conferences of the American Educational Research Association.