Dirks-Linhorst to present Going Lecture

Article courtesy of the College of Arts & Sciences

Sociology and criminal justice professor Ann Dirks-Linhorst will present the Going Lecture for the College of Arts and Sciences Feb. 19. She will be joined by two panelists to present “Mentally Ill Offenders and the Criminal Justice System: What Do We Know, and How Do We Help?”

2013 William and Margaret Professorship Award recipient, Prof. Ann Dirks-Linhorst

Dirks-Linhorst received the 2013 William and Margaret Going Endowed Professorship Award, which recognizes faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences who have outstanding teaching, scholarly accomplishments and/or creative activity. As part of the award, recipients give an annual Going Lecture.

William Going was the first dean of Instruction and Academic Affairs at SIUE and later taught literature at the university. In 2000, he established the professorship and lecture in honor of his wife Margaret and himself. It is the only endowed professorship at the university.

Dirks-Linhorst’s talk will feature two other presenters: Nancy Cooper, the chief probation officer for Madison County, and Andy Feller, a crisis intervention team officer with the Edwardsville Police Department.

In addition to a Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Dirks-Linhorst also has a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Prior to joining SIUE in 2003, she worked as an assistant attorney general for the state of Missouri and as an assistant general counsel for the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

She was drawn to the field of mental health when her uncle was diagnosed with a mental disorder while she was in law school. She decided to return to college for another degree while she was an assistant attorney general who counseled the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

“It was a gradual transition,” she said. “While working there, I found myself designing curriculum for educational sessions with the mental health professionals and eventually that turned into the decision to pursue my Ph.D. in criminology and seek an academic position.”

Dirks-Linhorst has received multiple grants and published articles in the “International Journal of Forensic Mental Health” and the “Journal of Criminal Justice Education” and has several manuscripts in progress. Her research focuses on the intersection of the criminal justice and mental health systems. This emphasis has allowed her to create the CJ 464 (Mental Health in Criminal Justice) course at SIUE, which is one of the few college courses in the nation that closely examines this issue.

“SIUE lets me use both of my passions–the criminal justice system and the mental health system–and reflect those to our students,” she said. “I love this course, and am so pleased that my department supported its development. This type of course is quickly gaining in popularity around the country, in response to the large number of mentally ill individuals that are often ‘customers’ of the criminal system.”

Dirks-Linhorst is also the coordinator for SIUE’s pre-law minor and PreLaw Association, which provides opportunity to interact with many students.

“I love talking with first-generation college students, as I was a first-generation student as well,” she said. “Talking with them about opportunities, and that they can pursue graduate school in a variety of degree setting, is what I like to do.”

Dirks-Linhorst is the seventh recipient of the William and Margaret Going Endowed Professorship at SIUE. Her lecture will take place at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 19 in Peck Hall 2304.


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