Faculty Spotlight: John Donahue

"Be an opener of doors." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whether the doors open an educational opportunity or a world of support and hope, John Donahue, resident faculty member and Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, feels he was meant to lead young minds through those doors. Teaching seemed to always be a calling for the anthropologist; while in college, he always came back to the study of humans, human behavior and its links to the past and present. “I’ve always loved anthropology; it’s quintessentially opening up doors, opening up the world – a way to try to understand, to make connections with people not only in other cultures, but our own,” he says. In his ninth year at Harford in the Behavioral and Social Sciences division, John is continually opening pathways for students as professors did for him during his own higher ed journey.

An instructor of HCC's SOC 101, SOC 102 and ANTH 102 courses, John also instructs the course Race, Class, and Gender in the United States, a course he developed for the College. Previously he was a member of the Distance Learning Committee for two years and served one year as co-chair. He recently acquired the role of Quality Assurance peer reviewer, serving as one of several that online instructors can choose from for a peer review of their online courses to assure the quality of Harford's online curriculum. As an innovative online instructor himself, John’s SOC 102 Social Problems course was recently Quality Matters approved and he is the content expert on the 2018-19 PLC, an interdisciplinary team which designed the ANTH 101 Introduction to Physical Anthropology & Archeology online course. Continuing to aid our students, John participated in Harford's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Open Education Resource workgroup. Through his tenacious efforts with online course development and in collaboration with colleague and resident faculty in Sociology Nena Craven, they were awarded a $500 grant to edit an OER for SOC 102 course. This entire process, which will conclude in spring 2020, includes surveying students, revising and writing chapters, and offering additional creative ideas. All of the courses John currently instructs are OER-supported.

As a member of the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges (SACC) and the American Anthropological Association, John is called on to be a presenter on many occasions. As the regional representative for the Mid-Atlantic SACC, he and colleagues from CCBC organized a SACC conference at TUNE last spring. The conference focused on teaching tolerance and equity in a multidisciplinary modality. This November at the American Anthropological Association meetings in Vancouver, John will be hosting a poster presentation of the outcomes from that Mid-Atlantic Conference and present on the topic of active and experiential integrated learning in ANTH 102 Online and F2F courses. John is also co-editor for SACC. He has taken a lead in developing one of the first Archeology OER textbooks, a process he anticipates will take two years.

Because he teaches introductory courses, John connects with students from many different backgrounds in a variety of majors. He finds ways to tie Anthropology to those other disciplines, opening up even more doorways for student success. John champions Service Learning efforts at Harford, promoting initiatives within the Honors Program and HCC’s Diversity, Inclusion, Culture and Equity Committee. As a highly involved faculty member and co-chair of the Safe Zone Committee, John is dedicated to a campus environment that celebrates differences in sexuality, sexual identity and gender identity. The Rainbow Alliance, a registered student organization for LGBTQ+ students, also benefits from John’s role as co-advisor where he serves aside colleague and co-advisor Nena Craven. As an openly gay faculty member, he feels LGBTQ+ students "need to have purposeful and involved influences in their lives who are not suffering; supportive systems in their lives." He is comfortable with his life and is encouraged to witness "more acceptance and tolerance, a growth of the students."

Enjoying all aspects of life, John is a 10-year member of the Baltimore Men’s Chorus, the oldest LGBTQ+ chorus in the Baltimore area, and has performed duets and solos in numerous shows. He is an avid runner with the Baltimore Frontrunners, a LGBTQ local chapter. Additionally, John enjoys playing soccer for the Federal Triangles Soccer Club in Washington, DC, a LGBTQ and straight players club on which he also served as a board member. The team met eligibility standards to participate in the Gay Games held in Paris, France in the summer of 2018, where John played with a club soccer team from Philadelphia. In his free time, he loves to travel.

John will continue to make great strides in his discipline and in his work with our students – continuing to open new doors, welcoming everyone to share different viewpoints and learn from each other. Harford is extremely proud to have John on our faculty team – a true partner to us and to our students.