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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.

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, chairman of criminal justice department
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!

Bob R. Emley, PhD, LMHC, associate professor of psychology
Hello! We appreciate your interest in Grand View University. We offer a Bachelors degree in both Psychology and Human Services. I teach Introduction to Human Services, Case Management, courses in ID/DD and MH Services, along with coordinating the internships. I believe learning is a lifelong process of exploring new experiences and applying yourself for your success. I try to respond to each student and bring the real world into the classroom. I have 15+ yrs of clinical/human service experience along with over 18 yrs of college teaching experience. I enjoy reading nonfiction, listening to Jazz music as well as wilderness canoeing and sailing. I look forward to getting to know you and supporting you in your educational and career success.

Dr. James Hanson, professor of psychology, head of division of social sciences
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. Sheryl Leytham, associate professor of psychology
I am so excited that you're interested in the psychology area - there is much to learn!  I teach such courses as Research Methods, Law and Psychology, and Exceptional Child.  I am a strong believer in students applying knowledge to improve their lives and increase understanding of their world.  Thus, I try to make connections to real life experiences.  Education must be meaningful to the student so that it has the possibility of making a real difference in their lives.  It must help them examine their assumptions and make decisions about their own about their beliefs, values and goals.

Dr. Bryan McQuide, assistant professor of political studies
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
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. Kathy Peterson, professor of psychology
Hello and welcome!  I have courses that include Abnormal Psychology, Senior Seminar, and Logos honor courses.  To teach is to provide opportunity for lifelong growth and development of the whole person.  An engaged student contending with great ideas and their implications for today is my teaching goal.  I love to travel with family, friends and students.  I also like to golf and ski when I'm not traveling.  Looking forward to meeting you!

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!

Dr. James Whyte, professor of sociology
Earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska and completed his master's and Ph.D. from Iowa State University.




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. Jill Sudak-Allison, assistant professor of human services

Dr. Aisha White, assistant professor of social work

Dr. Joshua Woods, assistant professor for psychology


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.