Dr. Monic Behnken

Associate Professor [SOC]


Office:203c East Hall
510 Farm House Ln.
Ames IA

Topics of interest: Alternative Adjudication Methods, Mentally Disordered Offenders, Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Complex Systems


Dr. Monic P. Behnken is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and the director of the leadership studies. A first generation college student, Behnken completed her B.A. in Psychology at the University of Houston. She earned her Juris Doctorate degree from Golden Gate University School of Law and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Pacific Graduate School of Psychology. Behnken is an attorney, licensed to practice law in Iowa and California. She received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, which enabled her to participate in the Interdisciplinary Women’s Reproductive Health Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Behnken joined Iowa State University as a Lecturer in 2009, became an Adjunct Assistant Professor in 2010, and was appointed as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in 2012. She teaches in the Criminal Justice Studies Program and uses her multidisciplinary training to educate students about the complex relationship between psychiatric disorders and justice system involvement. She is an award-winning teacher and regularly receives near-perfect teaching evaluations from students. Behnken’s research program focuses on mentally disordered offenders. She specializes in psychiatric risk factors for offending behavior and the effectiveness of diversion programs designed to keep mentally disordered offenders out of jails and prisons. Her research has been published in top-tier journals, supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, cited by the U.S. Department of Justice, and featured on local news broadcasts. Behnken is a respected and passionate scholar who is also committed to the principles of diversity, inclusion, and equity on the Iowa State Campus and the Ames community.