Faculty Spotlight: Meet Professor John McKnight

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As Harrisburg University continues to grow, so does the number of expert educators the university brings on to deliver an incomparable STEM education that includes hands-on experience, research, and personal attention that gives our graduates the edge needed to succeed.

It’s no coincidence Harrisburg University was named the #1 STEM University in the U.S. by Corporate LiveWire. And there’s a reason HU students land family-sustaining jobs in their fields or are accepted to graduate school within six months of graduation. It’s our professors.

Since its founding in 2001, Harrisburg University’s faculty has grown from a handful of professors t0 nearly 200 full-time faculty members. HU professors are the brightest in their fields. They boast impressive research portfolios and bring real-world experience from the field that prepares students for their biggest homework assignment yet: The workforce.

Dr. John McKnight, Assistant Professor of Sociology of Emerging Technologies

Case in point: Dr. John Carter McKnight, Assistant Professor of Sociology of Emerging Technologies.

Dr. McKnight, who holds a Ph.D. in Human & Social Dimensions of Science & Technology from Arizona State University, unites his academic training in the sociology of technology with a prior decade’s experience as an attorney specializing in financing high-tech companies. Dr. McKnight also holds a law degree from NYU and a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University.

He teaches several of HU’s unique Mind courses, particularly Civic Mind, with its focus on the theory and practice of civic engagement, and Political Mind, a foundational course in global issues. He also teaches technology ethics, a popular elective and a required course for our Computer Science students.

Dr. McKnight has taught and guest-lectured in the U.S., the UK, and Denmark, and presented papers at Oxford University, the European Parliament, San Diego Comic-Con, and even in an English pub.

His publications include work on the ethics of social robots, governance issues in long-term spaceflight, and the policy implications of peer-to-peer personal finance systems. Dr. McKnight has been an officer and director of STEM-related nonprofit organizations, including The Mars Society and the Space Frontier Foundation, was briefly CEO of a startup spacesuit design firm, and holds a NASA certification in planetary protection as well as a Red Cross certification in international humanitarian law.

Teaching and Research Interests:

Dr. McKnight’s work focuses on developing games and simulations to model complex adaptive systems at the global level, particularly related to the governance of science and technology.

He is the faculty lead of the SimGlobal project, a classroom simulation system for teaching the application of STEM skills to complex global problems. The team’s simulations have been presented and tested at conferences and workshops around the world, including the North American Simulation and Gaming Association, The City University of New York Games Conference, STEM-UP PA, and the US Army War College. Earlier this year, Dr. McKnight was elected to a three-year term as a member of the Board of The Reacting Consortium, an honor that recognizes Harrisburg University’s growing stature in the educational gaming world.

The success of HU follows the work of professors like Dr. McKnight, who aren’t simply lecturing and transferring information to our students; they’re discovering and sharing an array of knowledge that is helping change the world.

“I chose HU after teaching at research universities in the U.S. and Europe because HU provides a unique opportunity to make a difference in young people’s lives. I have the chance to know my students personally and to involve them in my own research, to serve as a mentor and role model, and to help them develop into well-rounded professionals, citizens, and people. HU changes lives, and I’m honored to be a part of that process.”

About Harrisburg University 

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private non-profit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields to a diverse student body. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717.901.5146 or email, Connect@HarrisburgU.edu.

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