“Watching all of the people impacted by what happened [on 9/11] — that just really pushed me to teach,” Kennesaw State Instructor of Geography David Doran said.
Doran was on a plane from Atlanta to Philadelphia during the New York City terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. He said he was so emotionally affected by this act of terrorism, as well as the subsequent displays of xenophobia which followed the attacks, that he was inspired to go back to school and eventually educate young people on the world’s many different cultures.
“I have the academic goal of educating students that we live in a global society, therefore, students need to have an awareness of the cultural diversity of planet Earth,” Doran said.
That is the philosophy with which Doran conducts his classes — an outlook of cultural acceptance and diverse perspectives. Doran has taught geography of North America, geography of Sub-Saharan Africa, world regional geography and historical geography at KSU.
“I created the Europe class around the growth of the EU online in 2013,” Doran said.
He currently teaches geography of Europe and human geography and will continue teaching them in fall. Doran said that he always seeks to show both sides of history during his lectures, which can sometimes be cause for disagreement. Nevertheless, Doran said he welcomes that disagreement, as it often results in students gaining a more well-rounded perspective of the world and its inhabitants.
“I kind of thrive dealing with different people — I like diversity,” Doran said. “I think that’s why Kennesaw has been a great place to stay.”
Within the last five to seven years, Doran said he has noticed a dramatic change for the better at KSU with regards to student diversity, which makes him proud to be a professor at the university.
While deeply interested in geography from a young age, Doran said he never saw himself as a professor.
Growing up in Framingham, Massachusetts, a western suburb of Boston, inspired the lens through which Doran views the world. He said that many of his neighbors were multi-cultural, and so, from a young age, being exposed to various viewpoints, customs and societies was the norm.
“I was blessed to have a family from Bombay, [Mumbai], that was Hindu and another family from Cairo that was Muslim on my street,” Doran said. “The cultural diversity in my hometown of Framingham taught me cultural respect and tolerance at an early age. It also gave me a vast interest in both regional geography and world history.”
His greatest hope as a professor is that students leave his classes with a similar understanding of linguistic and religious differences, as well as a greater overall sense of inclusion throughout cultures.
Prior to his teaching career, Doran worked as a corporate marketer for a Swiss company. Doran then began work as a professor at Georgia State and then at Georgia College before beginning his teaching career at KSU in 2010.
Throughout his time as a professor at KSU, he has taught eight different geography courses, both through lecture and online. He is currently working on obtaining a Ph.D. in history at Georgia State University. When he is not teaching, Doran enjoys hiking, traveling and writing.