EmmaLeigh Kirchner
Chair, Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice, Associate Professor
Preston 115

Dr. Kirchner is an associate professor of Criminal Justice. She has conducted numerous research projects on parenting and its effect on delinquency, which can be found in several journals including: The American Journal of Criminal Justice and Criminal Justice Studies. Dr. Kirchner’s research interests also focus on theory tests, corrections, race, gender, and juvenile delinquency. Dr. Kirchner previously served as the Managing Editor of Criminal Justice Policy Review and The American Journal of Criminal Justice. She currently serves on the executive board for the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Sciences, the board of Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, and is the faculty advisor of the Criminal Justice Association and the Student Alliance for Prison Reform. 


  • Ph.D., Criminology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2016
  • M.S., Administration of Justice, University of Louisville, 2011
  • B.S., Administration of Justice University of Louisville, 2009

Courses Taught


  • CRJS101: Justice in America
  • CRJS104: Introduction to Corrections
  • CRJS203: Deviant Behavior
  • CRJS205: Introduction to Juvenile Justice & Juvenile Delinquency
  • CRJS222: Human Behavior in Corrections
  • CRJS230: Criminology
  • CRJS318: Introduction to Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • CRJS336: Advanced Criminology
  • IMU101: Introduction to Mercyhurst
  • IMU102: Involvement at Mercyhurst


  • CJA501: Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • CJA621: Advanced Criminology
  • CJA622: Advanced Research and Analysis
  • CJA511: Historical and Comparative Criminal Justice

Study Abroad

  • FSAT300: Crime & Punishment in the Western World (London and Paris), FSAT300: Comparative Criminology Ireland (Belfast, Galway, and Dublin)
  • FSAT300: Sleuthing in the UK (Edinburg and London)
  • FSAT300: Progressive Incarceration (Europe)
  • FSAT300: Human Trafficking in Greece (Greece)

Teaching Interests

Criminological theory, research methods, comparative criminal justice, corrections.

Research Interests

  • Criminological theory testing, parental incarceration, parenting and delinquency, pedagogy

Recent Publications

  • Kirchner, E. E. (2018). Parental social economic status. In C. J. Schreck Encyclopedia of Juvenile Delinquency and Justice.
  • Ward, K.C., Kirchner, E.E., & Thompson, Andrew J. (2018) Social disorganization and rural/urban crime rates: A county level comparison of contributing factors. International Journal of Rural Criminology, 3(2).
  • Kirchner, E. E., & Higgins, G. E. (2014). Self-control and racial disparities in delinquency: A structural equation modeling approach. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 39, 436-449.

Outreach and Community Engagement

  • Webmaster, Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Sciences
  • Board Member, Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Awards and Recognitions

2018, ACJS Sage Junior Faculty Teaching Award