Murl Dirksen is a veteran member of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Lee University as Professor of Anthropology/Sociology. He served more than 10 years as department chair and is one of the few Lee professors that has received both the Excellence in Scholarship Award (1993) and the Excellence in Teaching Award (1991). In addition to his more than 40 years of teaching at Lee, Dirksen completed post-doctoral studies at Duke University as well as a visiting professor at University of Florida under the National Endowment for the Humanities. A cultural anthropologist, Dirksen has worked on a multi-disciplinary archaeology research team working on the Karak Plateau in central Jordan and presently assists the Bureau of Land Management with excavations in eastern Colorado. He spent several years in China at Henan University and Anhui Teachers College in the late eighties. Under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Dirksen served as the project director for developing curriculum and student travel to Latin American and China.
Locally, Dirksen has served on the Board of Directors of the local affiliate of Habitat and is a member of the Hopi Mission School Foundation Board in Arizona. He has travel and lived in over 35 countries. Dirksen grew up in the village of Kykotsmovi in the Hopi Nation, attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, and holds a M.A.T. from the UT Chattanooga in addition to a Ph.D. from UT Knoxville. His spouse, Dr. Carolyn Dirksen served 14 years as Vice-President of Academics at Lee and currently is Director for Center of Teaching Excellence. They have a daughter, Sara, who attended Arnold Elementary School, is a graduate of Cleveland High School, and is presently completing a doctorate in English at Georgia State University. Dirksen enjoys “teaching”, skiing, swimming, and playing tennis.
Dirksen represents the second district on the City School Board having been elected in 2004.