Danielle Dirks, PhD is an award-winning educator, dedicated to close mentorship and her students' transformation into lifelong learners. In her second year at Occidental College, she was awarded the campus-wide Donald R. Loftsgordon Award, the first professor in the history of the award to earn the distinction so early in her career. 

With a dedication to public sociology and digital pedagogy, Dr. Dirks encourages her students to critically engage, discuss, and communicate their sociological thinking while engaging multiple modalities well beyond the walls of the classroom.

At the core of Dr. Dirks' teaching philosophy is a deep and active commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity within the academy. As a first-generation college student, she is sensitive to the difficulties encountered by students from similar circumstances and makes their success her personal goal.

Throughout her career, she has dedicated herself to mentoring students from underrepresented groups, from advising independent research to collaborating and publishing articles, chapters, and other scholarly writing. For more than half a decade, she taught sociology to "non-traditional" students, many who were incarcerated.

What Students Say

This course changed the way I view the US. I feel well informed in my opinions on today’s racialized society and I have Danielle Dirks to thank for that.
— Race and Ethnicity in America
I learned how to write a thesis! I definitely improved my writing abilities and my ability to collect, analyze, and write up sociological data. It prepared me immensely for graduate school! Thank you!
— Sociology Thesis Seminar
I graduate in December. This has by far been the best class I’ve ever taken at UT, or anywhere. I wish I had taken it as a freshman. If I did I probably would be a sociology major.
— Capital Punishment in America

What Students Learn and Create