Mississippi College

Deborah J. Holt, Ph.D., LCSW

Associate Professor, Chair, Department of Sociology and Social Work 


  • B.S., Mississippi University for Women
  • M.S.W., University of Southern Mississippi
  • Ph.D., University of Alabama


Dr. Holt's field of interest includes domestic violence and mental health. Her instructional areas include social work practice with individuals and families, family violence, and mental health.

Mary T. Johnston-Nicholas, LMSW

Assistant Professor of Social Work, Social Work Program Field Director


  • B.A., Mississippi College
  • M.S.W., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary


Mrs. Johnston-Nicholas’ field of interest is to fully develop an international program in social work opportunities of study abroad. Her instructional areas include church social work, medical social work, child abuse, family issues and diversity issues in social work practice.

Laurie Smith Lawson, Ph.D., LCSW

Assistant Professor of Social Work, Social Work Program Director


  • B.S., Mississippi College
  • M.S.W., University of Southern Mississippi
  • PH.D., Tulane University


Dr. Lawson's field of interest includes community organization and voluntary giving. Her instructional areas include human behavior and the social environment, human diversity, and social work practice with individuals, groups, families, organizations and communities.

James W. Wooten, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology 


  • B.S., Union University
  • M.A., Stephen F. Austin State University
  • M.C.P., Mississippi College
  • Ph.D., University of Tennessee
  • Additional studies, University of Tennessee School of Social Work, Reformed Theological Seminary, University of Memphis, Memphis Theological Seminary, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary


Dr. Wooten’s research has focused on integration of narrative therapy and narrative/liberation theology. His instructional areas include family therapy, social theory and the sociology of religion.  Dr. Wooten is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

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