Research Program: Inquire. Reveal. Empower.

miniResearchbanner_arrowsResearch is important in developing effective programs and educational models that will help us achieve an end to racial and ethnic inequities and disparities in Arkansas.

Through the IRE Research Program we seek to take important steps to define the reality, nature, and extent of structural racism.

Inquire – by asking the tough questions that may make some uncomfortable but are necessary for understanding the root causes of racial inequities.

Reveal – by exposing the truth and bring attention to the problem of racism in a historical and contemporary context.

Empower – by using solid research and data to help inform decision making and formulate public policy that will achieve more equitable outcomes.

The following research projects draw on the academic expertise of faculty and graduates students from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Sentencing Disparities in Arkansas
Jennifer-MillerBy Jennifer Miller (UALR Criminal Justice Department)

This research project seeks to evaluate how conflict theory can explain sentencing disparities for violent felonies in Arkansas between 2000 and 2010. Variations are expected in the relationships between sentencing outcomes and individual-level characteristics of convicted felons and aggregate characteristics of counties, particularly racial population composition. An additional county study will examine why Pine Bluff, Arkansas is frequently listed as one of the most dangerous small cities in the country, and why this area (Jefferson County) has a disproportionate rate of criminal offenses and incarceration of black men. Other variables such as median income, rural vs. urban designation and population composition will be taken into account. Read more about Miller’s research at Crime Bluff: Fact or Fiction.” 

Investigating Black Male Student Athletes and Racial Inequities at Four Arkansas Intercollegiate Athletic Programs
Dr. John KuykendallBy Dr. John A. Kuykendall (UALR College of Education/Department of Educational Leadership)

This purpose of this research study is to collect qualitative data on black male student athletes in NCAA Division I competing schools in Arkansas (University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, UALR, UAPB and Arkansas State University). The study will use an assessment tool developed by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center of the Study of Race and Equity in Education. Special attention will be given to the notion that black men are socialized to value sports over academics at a young age; how institutions of higher education reap generous financial benefits at the expense of black male student-athlete success; and the long-term effects of black men’s participation in college sports on their overall psychological well-being and post-college career transitions.

Evaluating the Impact of Community-Based Organizations on Racial Disparities in Little Rock Neighborhoods
Michael CrawBy Michael Craw (UALR Center for Public Collaboration/Institute of Government)

This research project seeks to explain why some low-income neighborhoods in Little Rock experience less physical decay, greater population stability, less crime and improving property values over time, while other low-income neighborhoods experience more rapid deterioration in physical quality, safety and property values. The study will consider what effect institutional arrangements for neighborhood governance, including neighborhood-based organizations, large institutional actors (such as UALR’s University District), and social capital have on the neighborhood’s capacity to address problems. Findings will help to inform strategies on increasing neighborhood stability and quality of life in low-income neighborhoods primarily comprised of people of color.

Examining Ten Years of Data from the Racial Attitudes Survey: A Multilevel Analysis of Racial Attitudes, Perceptions and Stereotypes
Dr. Shaun ThomasBy Dr. Shaun Thomas (Lead – UALR Department of Criminal Justice)
Dr. Timothy Brown (UALR Department of Criminal Justice), Dr. Emily Berthelot (UALR Department of Criminal Justice) and Dr. John Miller (UALR School of Social Work)

This research project is a collaborative effort between members of the Department of Criminal Justice and School of Social Work at UALR. The project focuses on the causes of disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in the Arkansas juvenile justice system; analyses of individual and community level predictors of Arkansas teachers’ perceptions of students, parents, and the learning community; and the preliminary analyses of data from the UALR Racial Attitudes Surveys. The objective is to combine data from the Racial Attitudes Surveys with U.S. Census data on communities to examine simultaneously the impact of individual and community level factors on perceptions of ethnic minorities, racial stereotypes, risks of victimization and racial profiling. Ultimately, the study will investigate how change in perceptions, stereotypes, attitudes and experiences are associated with changes in socioeconomic resource disadvantage, residential integration and interracial social inequality in the community.

Racial Differences in Financial Literacy Among Prisoners in Arkansas’ Correctional Institutions
Dr. Timothy BrownBy Dr. Timothy Brown (Lead – UALR Department of Criminal Justice)
Dr. Ken Galchus (UALR Department of Economics and Finance) and Dr. Andy Terry (UALR Department of Economics and Finance)

This research project is a collaborative effort between members of the Departments of Criminal Justice and Economics and Finance. It evolved from work that Dr. Galchus has done in providing financial literacy workshops for prisoners soon to be released from the Department of Community Corrections facility in Little Rock. The study will focus on the differences in in the levels of financial literacy between white and African-American prisoners to determine where more attention should be concentrated to assist inmates with transitioning into society with requisite knowledge and skills in the area of financial literacy. The ultimate goal is to reduce the recidivism rates, and consequently crime.

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The Institute on Race and Ethnicity at UALR was founded in July 2011. With a vision to make Arkansas the best state in the country for promoting and celebrating racial and ethnic diversity, the Institute conducts research, promotes scholarship and provides programs that address racial inequities. It does so by facilitating open and honest dialogue aimed at empowering communities and informing public policy to achieve more equitable outcomes. For more information, visit or the Institute’s Facebook page at

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