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 About me

I do research and work with various communities.    I study technology, data and nonprofit organizations, particularly those using technology for social change. This was an opportunity to combine my passion for technology with my commitment to social justice. I was born in Central New Jersey the eldest of four children.  My Dad ran a supermarket.  My Mom was a homemaker who had an impressive career in the tech industry after she raised her family.  My parents never had the opportunity to go to college.  After graduating from high school, I went to Mars Hill College in North Carolina. I thought it was a great place to go to school.

I was involved in social causes and politics in college, but shortly after graduating I served as a VISTA Volunteer in Birmingham, Alabama. I worked with indigent defendants in a county jail as part of a pre-trial release program, sponsored by Miles College, a Historically Minority Serving Institution in Ensley, Alabama.  This was an eye opening experience.  My clients came from a different place.  They were poor, many used drugs and many came from neighborhoods that lacked hope. I was horrified by what I saw and I knew then that I wanted to change some of the forces that led to the situations That I encountered.  This was hard and often frustrating work.

After finishing my tour in VISTA,   I decided to go to graduate school and work on this.   I knew that I needed far better skills.  While in graduate school, I worked for a National Center for Volunteers in Criminal Justice.   I learned about the importance of citizenship and citizen action. I also met the love of my life.  Marcia and I were married and had a wonderful life together until she passed away far too young.

 In my early career, I was  a practitioner.  I worked mostly in child welfare and criminal justice.  Much of my work was in Appalachia.  I have had the opportunity to make a difference. I continue to work with communities and organizations.   My experience working with many committed people has informed my teaching and research in important ways. It is easy to look at a table of numbers and say that people are oppressed--its quite another matter to look someone in the face who has just experienced a major loss first hand. Bureaucracy often seems far better in a textbook that it does in the field.

 I started teaching at one of The University of Virginia branch campuses in 1980.  For  40 years I have had the privilege of working with a number of America's future leaders.  My most recent teaching posts have included (Social Work) Indiana University, Boston College,  the University of South Carolina and (Public Affairs) the University of Delaware.  I taught about social welfare policy,nonprofit organizations and technology in public and nonprofit organizations.

For the past almost three decades, I have been an active contributor to research about technology and social change. When I first began my research in the mid 1990s, it was a rarely explored territory. Everyone was a pioneer and everything was new.  It was  exciting. I spent a lot of time defending myself from people who felt that this wasn't a serious topic for research.   Then came Jessie Ventura, Howard Dean and Move On.  This is now the mainstream and advocates who don't use these techniques are rapidly being considered dinosaurs. 

 I am currently looking at the role of data and data science in social change.  This is an exciting new area and I can see data science adding substantially to the future of socoial change practice.  While I think scholarship is important in itself, I strive to create scholarship that is useful for those whose efforts directly contribute to social change. I bring my understanding of practice to my research.

 My hobbies are Lighthouses, Old Forts, Railroads and Reading about History and Politics.

    (c) 2001-2024 by John G. McNutt. All Rights Reserved. Limited Permission is Granted for Reproduction for Non-Commercial Educational Purposes provided that the material remain in its original form and proper credit is extended.   Disclaimer:   The content of all linked sites are beyond my control and I assume no responsibility for their content.    Photos and artwork from the Microsoft Clip Art Gallery and my collection   Revised 02/21/24