WILLIAM S. DAVIDSON II
University Distinguished Professor
College of Social Science
Dr. Davidson has four decades of experience in research and program design related to at-risk populations. He joined MSU’s Department of Psychology in 1975, and has focused much of his research on the juvenile
justice system, violence against women, and child abuse.
Shortly after arriving at MSU, Davidson established the Adolescent Diversion Project (ADP), which is designed to decrease delinquency while helping juveniles to recognize their competencies. The ADP created a collaboration through which innovative educational experiences were offered, best practice interventions were developed and employed, and sound scientific methodology was used to address juvenile delinquency in
Since 1976, ADP has diverted 6,117 first offenders from the local juvenile court, with dramatic reductions in repeat offenses. In addition, an equal number−6,117 undergraduates−have participated in the diversion work. The project has saved the mid-Michigan community more than $20 million, and Davidson has built a solid foundation of support from officials at the Ingham County Circuit Court, along with parents, community leaders, and school officials. One book and more than 50 articles and presentations have resulted from this community-engaged
Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Janelle Lawless said in 2009, “I know it is working because I don’t see these kids in my court.”
Dr. Davidson is an internationally-acclaimed scholar on behavioral psychology, and an exemplary researcher in community engaged scholarship. He has been recognized for achievements in the field by the United Nations, the American Psychological Association, the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and the State of Michigan.