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FBI official and UD Professor Scott Hall posing side-by-side while Hall holds his award, the 2021 FBI Director's Community Leadership Award

UD professor receives FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award

The FBI honored a University of Dayton professor for his work with an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force team to help identify and mitigate violent extremism in the wake of the mass shooting in Dayton's Oregon District in 2019.

"I'm honored to be recognized by an incredible group of professionals who have allowed me to assist with their efforts over the past four years," said Scott Hall, professor and coordinator of UD's clinical mental health counseling program, who received the 2021 FBI Director's Community Leadership Award this March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. "I'm also grateful to lend my perspective to try and keep our communities safe and hope to continue into the future."

The Cincinnati FBI field office, which nominated Hall for the award, approached Hall to work on the Oregon District shooting case, teaching area counselors the 18 indicators someone could be on the path to violent extremism. Hall also received training at the Behavioral Analysis Unit, a department that uses behavioral analysts to assist in criminal investigations, and participated in the FBI's Citizens Academy, which gives business, religious, civic and community leaders an inside look at the FBI.

"Dr. Hall has been a key partner for the FBI Cincinnati Field Office over the past four years. His expertise and network of contacts in the field of mental health at UD and beyond has been invaluable," said Michael Herwig, FBI supervisory special agent. "The FBI and local law enforcement recognize that we cannot arrest our way out of the threat of extremism and targeted violence. Forming partnerships in the community as we have with Dr. Hall, and providing resources and education, are now important parts of the FBI's efforts to keep Americans safe."

Hall continues his work with the FBI today, as a member of Dayton's Joint Terrorism Task Force executive board. Most recently, Hall and FBI agents educated mental health professionals on the incel population, federal gun laws relating to mental health and pathways to violence.

"The landscape is changing in some really challenging ways," Hall said. "A lot of these people may show up in person with personality and behavioral characteristics that counselors, either in the schools or in the community, need to be aware could potentially be associated with extremist behavior. Historically, counselors are not trained in that."

His work with the FBI is a different focus for Hall, who recently developed the ecotherapy certificate for students in UD's clinical mental health counseling program and published a book on medical trauma in 2017, but his mission encompasses them all.

"I strive to promote wellbeing through relationships — with ourselves as individuals, nature, and with community partners and the profession — in ways that are different paths, but that's the common thread, so that the outcome is a peaceful existence," Hall said. "It's why I love the ocean and the mountains — they're so different, but equally important."


News and Communications Staff