Though the subject matter is serious, Prof. Linda Williams is upbeat and positive when it comes to her research and teaching.
Williams has spent decades studying family violence, violence against women, and child sexual abuse. Her recent work includes a study of commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth, and domestic and international trafficking of humans.
She continues this work with colleagues in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Everything she studies provides an opportunity for her students to learn about the lived experiences of victims and offenders when they take her classes on research methods and gender, race and crime. “Some of the course materials help break down the stereotypes that so many of us have when it comes to thinking about who is a perpetrator and who is a victim,” she says.
When she joined the faculty at UMass Lowell, she was impressed with “not only the ethnic diversity but also the diversity of life experiences in the Lowell community.” As someone who is interdisciplinary and collaborative in her work, she was also drawn to UMass Lowell’s many “highly respected faculty.”
Often her students are not new to the field of criminal justice. Many have, for example, worked in corrections, social services and law enforcement, ranging from police officers, to clerks within the court systems, to 911 operators. This variety of perspectives makes for good classroom discussion. “I love teaching and I love the students at UMass Lowell,” she says.