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WVU Scholar Spotlight

Jeffrey DanielsJeff Daniels, PhD
By Jacqueline Zugschwert

Dr. Jeff Daniels is a professor in the WVU Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling and Counseling Psychology. As an undergraduate, he found his strengths in the counseling area of psychology as opposed to the clinical area of psychology. Counseling psychology focuses on personal strengths and helping people which allowed Dr. Daniels to easily transition into studying violence and violence prevention; his current area of study.

Earlier in his career at Indiana University in 2001, Dr. Daniels studied averted school shootings and received a grant to visit schools that have experienced these types of incidents. His work includes qualitative fieldwork of those schools who have averted school shootings with the hope of contributing to the prevention of school violence. While transitioning to WVU, Dr. Daniels partnered with the FBI Behavioral Science Unit, studying global hostage taking, studying inmates convicted of kidnapping.

 His work with the Behavioral Science Unit helped him to transition to the FBI office in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The current study out of that office, for which he is a part, is a large study of police officer ambushes. The group in Clarksburg, West Virginia, LEOKA (Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted) has done three previous studies and has used the findings to implement a police training program. The program has trained over 70,000 police officers across the United States.

When asked what advice he had for students, Dr. Daniels had several important words of wisdom. First, he urges students to explore different areas in their college careers. In this pursuit, he encourages students to discover what it is they are truly passionate about and to find what they really love to do. In addition, his advice to students is to realize that their interests may change throughout their career and to remain open minded. Finally, in order to make the most of college, it is important for students to reach out to their peers and faculty who share their interests, and to get involved as much as possible.

In his extensive work in violence prevention, Dr. Daniels’ overall goal is to save lives. He hopes to inspire schools to implement intervention programs in the future. Moreover, he hopes to increase awareness of these issues and help with identification of individuals who are in need of mental health intervention in order to prevent violence. Dr. Daniels is currently working with professors at Texas A&M to study Transnational Criminal Organizations and homeland security, re-examining global hostage taking.