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Who We Are

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Who We Are

David McLeod, PhD

Education: A.A. Law Enforcement (2004), B.A. Criminal Justice (2005), & M.S.W. (2009), University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Ph.D. Social Work (2013), Virginia Commonwealth University

Research Interests: Criminal Behavior Development, Gender, Forensic Trauma, Child Protection, Social Work Education


David has spent the past two decades working to actively reduce violence, particularly that directed at people and communities with diminished capacities for self-protection. In addition to being an Assistant Professor in the SSW he holds affiliate faculty status with the OU Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and the OU Center for Social Justice, and is the Director of the OU Ruth Knee Institute for Transformative Scholarship. A former police detective who transitioned to become a forensic social worker, David has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in programs of social work, criminal justice, and preparing future faculty. His research is focused on the intersection of criminal behavior development, gender, and trauma. Some of David's current professional activities include investigations of forensic psychopathology and differential criminal behavior development, female sexual offending, female incarceration, child sexual abuse, forensic social work, intra-professional and multidisciplinary collaboration, domestic and relational violence, and social work education. David is a board member of the National Organization of Forensic Social Work, the Co-Chair of the Oklahoma Children of Incarcerated Parents Advisory Committee to the Legislature and is currently working on multiple funded research projects. His most recent publications include works on female sexual offending, trauma, domestic violence, and social work education. He has won numerous teaching, service, and research honors and is a four-time recipient of the Ann and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work "Professor of the Year" award.

Knee Scholars

The Knee Scholars program is designed to support graduate students in GRA positions within the Ruth Knee Institute. These students work for an academic year and support multiple research initiatives of the center. Scholars are often co-authors on published reports and academic products and highly involved in community engaged research. These positions are stipend supported.

Knee Student Fellows

The Knee Student Fellows program allows for graduate or undergraduate students from any discipline across the university to join the Ruth Knee Institute and work on associated projects on a semester by semester basis for elective course credit.


For information about how to join our team (as a Knee Scholar or Knee Student Fellow) contact Dr. McLeod