Dr. Paul N. McDaniel is an Assistant Professor of Geography in the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Kennesaw State University. He is an urban social geographer whose research explores the causes, processes, and implications of immigration to urban regions. Specifically, he focuses on processes of immigrant settlement, adjustment, integration, and receptivity in cities and metropolitan areas, particularly in the U.S. South, using mixed-methods, qualitative, and community-based participatory research methods.
Dr. McDaniel's teaching interests broadly include regional geography, human geography, urban geography and urban studies, population geography, and research methods. His teaching of geography is informed by his extensive travels throughout all 50 U.S. states and several territories in the United States, most provinces in Canada, many states in Mexico, several islands in the Caribbean, Cuba, Honduras, Belize, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Vatican City, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Israel/Palestine, China, Thailand, Burma, and India.
In the Atlanta region, McDaniel focuses on community-engaged scholarship through cross-institutional partnerships. He is co-founder of the Georgia Immigration Research Network (GIRN), a research consortium among Atlanta area immigrant and refugee integration researchers that helps cultivate community outreach with practitioners and organizations, including Welcoming America and its municipal government affiliates, as well as community-based nonprofit organizations. Within the scope of GIRN, he is also co-founder and co-PI of the Atlanta Immigrant Crossroads project, which explores untapped potential or utilized promise for newcomer integration in the Atlanta metropolitan area. This research is funded in part by a 2016-2017 KSU Creative Activities and Research Experiences in Teams (CARET) grant to cultivate community-engaged research experiences for a team of undergraduate researchers, and a 2017-2018 KSU Office of the Vice Presdient for Research (OVPR) Pilot/Seed grant. McDaniel is also a National Geographic Society Explorer (NGS-50802E-18) and a 2017-2018 Race and Ethnicity Diversity Faculty Fellow with the Center for Diversity Leadership and Engagement through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. McDaniel also supervises undergraduate and graduate research assistants who are interested in immigrant integration and receptivity, including through KSU’s M.S. in Conflict Management and Ph.D. in International Conflict Management programs. Also at KSU, McDaniel is a founding member of the interdisciplinary North Georgia Southern Appalachia Rural Health Working Group, which is working to position KSU as the primary resource for community and rural health expertise in northwest Georgia, including exploring ways to alleviate barriers to access and provision of health care for diverse populations in north Georgia and southern Appalachia.
McDaniel is also a founding member of the collaborative Receptivity, Integration, and Settlement In New Gateways (RISING) research group based at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. RISING is a consortium of community-engaged scholars, practitioners and advocates working with immigrants, refugees, and asylees and their families in new gateways. The consortium shares trans-disciplinary and trans-sector interests in the dynamics of migration and the complexities of settlement, receptivity, inclusion and integration at the local level and is committed to applied, participatory and action-based research. RISING presents results and information in diverse forms to a wide variety of audiences, develops and implements interventions that flow from the voice of the communities with whom we work and the research we have conducted, and mentors each other in our respective areas of expertise. RISING educates students from introductory undergraduate to advanced doctoral levels in community-engaged scholarship and collaborates with partners on innovative projects that enhance the lives of immigrants in new gateway communities.
Previously, McDaniel was a research fellow with the American Immigration Council in Washington, DC, where he conducted research and policy analysis on immigrant settlement and integration in cities and metropolitan areas, immigrant and refugee entrepreneurship, urban/suburban revitalization, receptivity, and community building. He also led research and policy efforts, outreach, and partnerships related to immigrant integration and the welcoming cities movement, including with Welcoming America and many of its affiliate cities across the United States. He also represented the Council at meetings with other research, non-profit, NGOs, and government organizations, in meetings with congressional staff on Capitol Hill, at The White House, with the media, and at academic and practitioner conferences. Also in DC, McDaniel was a project researcher with Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), where he led a research evaluation of the Legal Orientation Program for Custodians of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) in partnership with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Department of Justice, Vera Institute of Justice, and CLINIC affiliate organizations across the U.S. Prior to his work in Washington, McDaniel was at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he assisted community-based participatory research projects with the Department of Family Medicine at Carolinas Medical Center and the Mecklenburg Area Partnership for Primary-care Research (MAPPR), Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, Levine Museum of the New South, and Crossroads Charlotte. In particular, he worked on research evaluation projects for the Levine Museum of the New South’s Speaking of Change and Changing Places community dialogue programs.
McDaniel earned a Ph.D. in Geography and Urban Regional Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, an M.A. in Higher Education Leadership from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, an M.S. in Geography from the University of Tennessee, and a B.S. in Geography from Samford University.