Faculty & Staff



Kathleen Heide, Ph.D.

Distinguished University Professor 

Phone: (813) 974-9543
Office: SOC 311
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Curriculum Vitae


Kathleen Heide received her B.A. from Vassar College in Psychology and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the University at Albany, State University of New York. Her academic honors at Vassar College included election to Phi Beta Kappa, Departmental Honors in Psychology, and General Excellence distinction awarded at Commencement. At the University of Albany, Kathleen Heide specialized in psychological approaches to criminology. In addition to receiving graduate fellowships and a dissertation award while a graduate student at the University at Albany, Kathleen Heide coordinated the psychological component of the National Evaluation of Adult Restitution Projects under a federal grant funded by the National Institute of Justice. In her capacities as graduate student and research analyst, Kathleen Heide was under the direct and formal supervision of clinical psychologist, Marguerite Q. Warren, Ph.D., a pioneering figure in the development of Interpersonal Level of Maturity Theory. Dr.Heide received a Presidential Award for a Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation at Commencement for her research on the personality characteristics of offenders.


Dr. Heide has also completed extensive postdoctoral education and training in psychology and psychotherapy. She has trained with internationally recognized experts in various therapeutic strategies and has specialized in Cognitive Behavioral techniques and Humanistic/Gestalt approaches. She has advanced education in working with survivors of child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, understanding the dynamics in dysfunctional families, and utilizing cognitive restructuring and emotional release techniques. She has continued her education in forensic evaluation and has acquired additional expertise in hypnotherapy and effective intervention strategies with adolescents and survivors of trauma. Dr. Heide also has advanced training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).


Dr. Heide holds the rank of Professor of Criminology at the University of South Florida. Professor Heide enjoys teaching both undergraduate and graduate students and is actively engaged in thesis and doctoral advising. Dr Heide is the recipient of six awards for teaching excellence, including USF’s most prestigious award, the Jerome Krivanek Distinguished Teacher Award.

Professor Heide's publication record includes four books and over 120 other professional publications in the areas of adolescent homicide, parricide, family violence, personality assessment, and juvenile justice. Professor Heide is the author of two widely acclaimed books on juvenile homicide (Why Kids Kill Parents: Child Abuse and Adolescent Homicide and Young Killers: The Challenge of Juvenile Homicide). She is the co-author (with Linda Merz-Perez) of a third book Animal Cruelty: Pathway to Violence against People. Professor Heide’s latest book, Understanding Parricide: When Sons and Daughters Kill Parents, is the culmination of her 25 years of research and clinical evaluation involving parricide victims and offenders. Requests for reprints of Dr. Heide's publications have come from scholars and practitioners around the world.

Dr. Heide's research has also been featured in Newsweek, Psychology Today, U.S. News and World Reports, Epocá (Brazil), Facts (Switzerland), and in dozens of newspapers worldwide including The New York Times, U.S.A. Today, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Chicago Tribune. She has appeared in several nationally televised talk and news shows, including Larry King Live, CNN, Good Morning America, Fox News, Court TV/In Session, and 20-20. Professor Heide has served as a consultant to the National Institute of Justice, National Institute of Health, many state agencies, and several law firms.

Dr. Heide served for 19 months as Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), University of South Florida, Tampa. Prior to being appointed as Interim Dean, Dr. Heide served for two years as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Program Development, a position which is considered to be the Executive Associate Dean or the second-in-command in CAS. Her responsibilities included recruitment, faculty development, tenure and promotion, sabbaticals and faculty leaves, honors and awards, faculty governance, retirement, and disciplinary matters.


Dr. Heide is a licensed mental health counselor in the State of Florida and practices at the Center for Mental Health Education, Assessment and Therapy, Tampa. She specializes in treating survivors of trauma, including police officers/first responders, adolescents and young adults, adult children of alcoholics and other high stress families, survivors of childhood abuse, sexual abuse, and sexual assault. Her activities include the training of mental health and social services professionals in family violence, child abuse, and violent juveniles. In addition, Dr. Heide provides individual and group therapy, forensic evaluation, and consultation regarding trial preparation.

Dr. Heide is an internationally recognized consultant on adolescent homicide, parricide, and family violence.  Professor Heide has evaluated and consulted with attorneys regarding homicide offenders, specifically those who killed parents, in 16 states and Canada. She has been court-appointed expert at the motion of defense counsel and prosecutors in matters relating to homicide, violence, and juveniles and families in Florida Circuit Courts and in various jurisdictions across the United States.  Professor Heide has been qualified as an expert to testify in several areas, including psychology, criminology, adolescent homicide and parricide, and forensic evaluation in Florida Circuit Courts and in various jurisdictions across the United States.


Dr. Heide was appointed in 1994 and reappointed in 1996 by Governor Chiles to serve as a member of Florida's Sentencing Commission. Professor Heide has also served as a member of several Board of Directors of community agencies mandated to provide services to sexual abuse and assault victims, psychiatric patients, individuals in crisis, female delinquents and women offenders. Professor Heide is a past President of the Tampa Bay Association for Women Psychotherapists. She is currently serving as the Chair of the Youth and Gun Violence Committee and is a member of the Leadership Council, Safe & Sound Hillsborough. Professor Heide is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Community and Law Enforcement Workshops and Services (CLEWS), the Program Evaluation and Data Committee, Associated Marine Institute and the USF Harrell Center for the Study of Family Violence.

Dr. Heide has been an active member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary since 1998. She is certified as an instructor, crewperson, coxswain, and aids to navigation verifier. Dr. Heide is actively involved in search and rescue operations, port security, and marine safety. Professor Heide has a federal government security clearance and is a licensed commercial captain.


Dr. Heide is an active participant in the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the Homicide Research Working Group. Dr. Heide is an elected member of the American Psychological Association, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi and Phi Kappa Phi. Professor Heide serves on editorial boards for the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Victims and Offenders, and Behavioral Sciences and The Law.


Dr. Heide has been honored on many occasions for her research accomplishments, instructional activities, and service to the community and to the profession. Professor Heide was elected to full membership status in the American Psychological Association in recognition of significant contribution or performance in the field of psychology in 1990. She was elected and inducted as an Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow in the Social, Economic, and Political Sciences Section for distinguished contributions to the field of Criminology, particularly with respect to juvenile homicide and parricide in 2019. She also lists among her top accolades as being invited by Queen Sofia of Spain to present her research on juvenile homicide at an international conference held on youth violence in Valencia, Spain, and giving the opening keynote address at an international conference on homicide held in Australia. Dr. Heide has also been invited to present her research at International Congresses of Law and Mental Health in Paris, Padua, Italy, and Toronto. She has been formally recognized as a Distinguished Alumni of the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany, State University of New York, which has been widely recognized as one of the top schools of criminology in the United States. Professor Heide was selected to receive the designation of Distinguished University Professor, an award conveyed to outstanding faculty based on a series of internal and external reviews of their research and academic record, in 2020.

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