University Distinguished Professor
College of Social Science
Bill 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 the prevention of child abuse.
Shortly after arriving at MSU, Davidson established the Adolescent Diversion Project (ADP). Utilizing a community, strength-based intervention strategy, ADP is designed to decrease delinquency while helping juveniles to recognize their competencies. The goal was to create a collaboration through which innovative educational experiences were offered, best practice interventions were employed, and sound scientific methodology was used to address juvenile delinquency in the mid-Michigan area.
Since 1976, ADP has diverted more than 4,000 [Davidson reported 4,125 diversions on his 2009 Magrath app, so this # is way out of date] first offenders from the local juvenile court, with dramatic reductions in repeat offenses. In addition, an equal number of undergraduates has participated in the diversion work, 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.
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…We hope to be working with this program for another 30 years.”
Dr. Davidson has become an internationally-acclaimed scholar on behavioral psychology, and has served as 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.