Throughout his career, Case Western Reserve University professor Daniel Flannery has focused on finding new ways of addressing some of society’s most pressing social problems.
A prolific scholar, the Semi J. and Ruth W. Begun Professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences is considered one of the country’s foremost experts on youth violence prevention and has published on a diverse range of topics—including youth juvenile justice, community policing, opioid addiction and many others.
Lauded for the volume and accessibility of his scholarship—and his willingness to share his expertise with a range of audiences—Flannery has influenced national, state and local policies that prevent violence, increase community safety and promote mental health.
In recognition of Flannery’s contributions to social science scholarship and practice, as well as his service to the university and mentorship to students, he has been named a Distinguished University Professor—the institution’s highest designation for faculty.
Flannery will receive the honor during convocation Sept. 7.
“More than anything, this is recognition of the hundreds of faculty, staff, students and community partners who have worked with me over three decades to address violence, a complicated social problem with no single solution,” said Flannery.
“My colleagues have provided relentless support and a shared commitment,” he added. “Everything I have done has been a collaboration.”
In his nomination of Flannery, Mandel School Dean Dexter Voisin noted his “exemplary contributions to scholarship, teaching, and service to the campus, profession, and community” and the “national, state, and local policy and community impact” of his research.
“Professor Flannery is one of the most consequential researchers within his field,” Voisin said. “He has earned a national profile based on the broad reach and impact of his research.”
Under his leadership, the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at the Mandel School has grown into one of the most impactful institutions at the university. Generating more than $52 million in external funding since 2011, the Begun Center is also one of the most active and influential research centers of its kind in the country.
With an emphasis on community-based research, the Begun Center has become a model for how to create sustainable and measurable change within existing systems.
In recent years, Flannery and Begun Center researchers contributed to the significant reduction of backlogged sexual assault kits (SAKs) in Cuyahoga County, leading to the indictment of more than 800 offenders, with more than 300 serial offenders identified.
Countless law enforcement agencies have taken notice and launched efforts to address their own SAK backlogs—resulting in thousands of prosecutions.
“In terms of its depth and breadth, quality and real-world impact,” wrote nominator Matt DeLisi, a distinguished professor at Iowa State University, “Dr. Flannery is one of the most consequential social scientists in the country.”
In academic circles, Flannery has seen his work cited more than 10,000 times. Particularly notable is the strong degree to which his findings translate into clinical and institutional practice.
“Tens of thousands of individuals have directly benefited from his work developing interventions to address youth violence and programs to improve police-community relations,” wrote nominator Albert D. Farrell, a psychology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Celebrated for being a dedicated mentor to students and colleagues in academic posts, Flannery has also served on numerous bodies dedicated to creating positive social impact—and advised several federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.
“He can address both practitioner and scholarly audiences and move between the two deftly,” shared Scott H. Decker, foundation professor emeritus at Arizona State University. “It’s why he’s in high demand at the top levels of decision-making.”