Our Faculty

Janese Free

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Contact Information

617 264-7620

Office Hours

Office: Administration Building, Room 466

Office hours: Monday, 8:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 3:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.; by appointment also


Ph.D., M.A., Northeastern University; B.A., Gettysburg College


I graduated from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA with an undergraduate degree in Sociology and a budding interest in Criminology and Criminal Justice. I attended Northeastern University in Boston, MA and graduated with a Master's degree in Sociology, specializing in Criminology. Based on an internship in graduate school, upon completing my Master's degree I was hired by the Massachusetts Department of Corrections as a victim advocate. I began teaching Criminal Justice classes at night as an adjunct shortly thereafter.

After a few years with the DOC (and some unbelievable experiences!), I was hired as a Program Coordinator with the Dorchester Community Roundtable (DCR), a non-profit organization funded by the Center for Disease Control and Injury Prevention, to help create a coordinated community response to intimate partner violence in Dorchester by working with the police, the courts, the hospitals, the health centers, and the community at large. At night, I continued teaching part-time in the areas of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Sociology during these years. I decided to return to Northeastern University and pursue my PhD in Sociology, specializing in Criminology. Simultaneously, I was hired to develop and teach classes in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, MA. Over time, those classes became a minor and eventually a major.

In the fall of 2010, I came to Emmanuel College and have taught classes in the areas of Sociology, Criminology and Crime and Justice for the past four years. I enjoy teaching students in the classroom, but I also make a concerted effort to take my students "outside the classroom" to learn-this often includes a historic crime tour of Boston and attending related lectures or events off campus during the semester. In addition to teaching, I have continued my research focusing on at-risk youth and the influence of education and schooling on their academic performance and life outcomes.

In my life outside of work I am an active volunteer with several non-profit organizations. I am particularly committed to the country and people of Haiti where I began volunteering in 1998 [see video and article]. Since the earthquake I have worked mainly with King's Hospital and King's Garden Orphanage in Port-au-Prince. l lead teams of doctors, nurses, and general volunteers who join me in this volunteer effort during the summer months. I have also participated in service trips to Benin, Ghana, South Africa, and various places in the United States. I see my service and volunteer work as an extension of my passions and my professional interests in the areas of social justice and inequality and my desire to see the world as a "classroom" in which we have the opportunity to learn and grow every day. 

Professional Affiliations

  • American Sociological Association (2003-present)
  • Eastern Sociological Society (2002-present)

slideshowHaiti: Two Years Later

Courses I Teach

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Criminology
  • Crime and Justice
  • FYS: Violence: Causes and Consequences
  • Race, Ethnic and Group Relations
  • Deviant Behavior and Social Controls
  • Senior Seminar in Sociology

In the past, I have also taught the following classes at Northeastern University or Eastern Nazarene College:
Family Violence
Juvenile Delinquency
Corrections and Alternatives
Prison Culture

Publications + Presentations

Peer Reviewed Publications (* indicates co-author is an Emmanuel College student or graduate)

Free, J., & Konecnik, L.* (in preparation). "Triumphs and tribulations: How migrant educators experience their migrant students."

• Free, J. (2017). ‘Is it our job to teach them to read or to act appropriately?': Teachers' and staff's perceptions of an alternative school.

Free, J., & Križ, K. (2016). "They know there is hope": How migrant educators support migrant students and their families in navigating the public school system. Children and Youth Services Review, doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.08.013

Free, J., Križ, K., & Konecnik, J.* (2014). Harvesting hardships: Educators' views on the challenges of migrant students and their consequences on education. Children and Youth Services Review, 47, 187-197.

• Free, J. (2013). The importance of rule fairness: the influence of school bonds on at-risk students in an alternative school. Educational Studies, 40, 144-163.

Free, J., & Konecnik, J.* (in preparation). Facing hardships: How migrant educators experience the challenges their migrant students bring to the classroom.

• Križ, K. & Free, J. (under review). 'They're expecting everybody to come from a white-collar family': Ethnic and class biases against migrant students in the public education system.

Scholarly Book Chapters

• Križ, K., Free, J., & Kuehl, G.* (2016). Court proceedings in child protection in the United States.,"chapter for an edited book entitled Socio-legal models of care order proceedings: Examining child protection decision-making, edited by Kenneth Burns, Tarja Pösö and Marit Skivenes. New York: Oxford University Press.

• Rabrenovic, G., Levin, J., Free, J., Keaney, C. and Mazaic, J. (2004). "Flag-Waving and Attitudes Toward Arab Americans" in Why We Hate by Jack Levin and Gordana Rabrenovic, pp. 221-231. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

A Selection of My Conference Paper Presentations

• January 2017, National Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Conference. 'They're expecting everybody to come from a white-collar family': Ethnic and class biases against migrant students in the publc education system, Las Vegas, NV.

• April 2016, Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting. Intervening and responding to youth violence: Exploring the formal and informal strategies of streetworkers (with Jenna Wilson*), Boston, MA.

• November 2015, Colleges of the Fenway Teaching and Learning Conference. Creating a safe space: How to talk about violence in the classroom, Boston, MA.

• January 2015, The Qualitative Sixth Annual Conference. Migrant Students' Social Hardships and Educational Challenges: An Exploratory Study Migrant Educators' Perceptions (co-authored with Katrin Kriz and Jenny Konecnik*), Fort Lauderdale, FL.

• September 2014, Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management International Conference. Harvesting hardships in Florida: Educators' views on the challenges of immigrant migrant students and their consequences on education (presented by Katrin Kriz; co-authored with Katrin Kriz and Jenny Konecnik*), Segovia, Spain.

• March 2013, Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting. Reproducing Social Inequality via Student Ability Grouping in Schools, Boston, MA.

• February 2013, National Alternative Education Association Conference. School Discipline Policies for At-Risk Youth: Research (and Practice) Based Strategies that Work (and don't work!) and Understanding and Teaching Children who are Exposed to Violence, Atlanta, GA.

• February 2012 (invited presenter), National Conference on Alternative Education. Assessing the Effectiveness of an Alternative School Program and Classroom Teaching, Nashville, TN.

• February 2012, Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting. The Functions of Alternative Schooling for At-Risk Youth (with Amy Longwell* & Jen Konecnik*) and How Risk Factors Influence the Academic Lives of At-Risk Youth (with Bernadine Desanges*), New York, NY.

• November 2011, American Criminological Society Annual Meeting. The Importance of Fairness: School Bonds and At-Risk Youth, Washington, DC.

• February 2011, Eastern Sociological Society's Annual Meeting. The Influence of Students' School Bonds on Academic Performance and School Behavior, Philadelphia, PA.

• February 2011, National Conference on Alternatives to Expulsion, Suspension, and Dropping out of School. From Zero Tolerance to Alternative School by Way of Expulsion, Orlando, FL.

• March 2010, Eastern Sociological Society's Annual Meeting. Lives at Risk: Budget Cuts and Alternative Education, Boston, MA.

• February 2010, Eastern Educational Research Association Annual Conference. At-Risk Youth and Alternative Schooling, Savannah, GA.

• February 2010, National At-Risk Education Network. Six Successful Strategies for Educating At-Risk Youth, Panama City, FL.

• November 2008, New England Sociological Association Conference. Researcher and Community Activist: Exploring the Benefits of a Dual Identity, Stonehill College, Easton, MA.

Grants + Recognition

• Faculty-Student Research Funding, Faculty Development Committee, Emmanuel College, 2010-2015.

• Nominated for "Emmanuel College Woman of the Year Award" (Black Student Union), April 2014.

• Nominated for "Advisor of the Year" (Sociology Club), Emmanuel College, May 2013.

• Nominated for "Emmanuel College Woman of the Year Award" (Black Student Union), March 2013.

• Received award for "Educational Event of the Year 2011-2012" at Emmanuel College for lecture on domestic violence entitled, "What's Love Got To Do With It?," May 2012.

• Awarded the "Smiling Saint Award" for "going above and beyond inside and outside the classroom," February 2012.

• Featured in "Emmanuel Magazine" for international service and volunteering, January 2012.

• Highlighted in article and video interview on Emmanuel College home page for involvement in relief and development work in Haiti over past 16 years, January 2012.

• Invited by the U.S. Department of Justice to serve as consultant reviewing grants for the Office of Justice Programs, December 2011-2012.

• Summer Student Research Funding, Emmanuel College, May 2011.

• "Excellence in Teaching" awarded from faculty, students and administration of Eastern Nazarene College for, "her pioneering work in developing and teaching criminal justice and related courses with academic excellence...," November 2003.

Research Experience

My research interest developed as I worked for the Massachusetts Department of Corrections as a victim advocate. All too often I saw the revolving door of inmates entering and exiting prison - only to re-entering again...often quickly. I became interested in further understanding what can be done to keep individuals from becoming caught in this seemingly never ending cycle.

With this interest in mind, I returned to Northeastern University to pursue my PhD in Sociology with a specialization in Criminology. I began studying at-risk youth and the influence of education and schooling, both positive and negative, on this vulnerable population. My dissertation, entitled, "First step or last chance : at-risk youth, alternative schooling and juvenile delinquency," was based on over 750 hours of participant observation, 132 student surveys, and over 23 teacher interviews at an alternative school for at-risk youth. I examined the influence of alternative schooling on at-risk youth, many of whom were likely to end up in juvenile detention and eventually adult prison.

Since then I have studied another at-risk population, namely migrant at-risk youth and the role of education and schooling in their lives. And, now I am beginning a study of street advocates in Boston who work with at-risk youth in urban areas. Through the Faculty Development Committee at Emmanuel College, I have had the pleasure of hiring some of my students to work with me as research assistants on these various projects. I have thoroughly enjoyed mentoring and working alongside some of my students. I look forward to continuing to involve them in my research in the future!