Paul McDaniel

Paul McDanielDr. Paul N. McDaniel is an Associate Professor of Geography in the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Kennesaw State University. He is a broadly-trained geographer, having taught a variety of human geography and physical geography courses in diverse formats including large and small face-to-face courses, fully online, and study abroad. As an urban geographer, his current research explores the geography of inclusive place-branding, particularly as it relates to vulnerable and historically marginalized populations (such as the causes, processes, and implications of immigration to urban regions), other issues related to inclusive city- and place-branding strategies, initiatives, processes, and effects, and how place-branding can contribute to the cultural, economic, political, and social development of cities and regions. Within this context, he also 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. Beyond these areas of focus, his additional current scholarship of teaching and learning research examines aspects of geography education. 

Dr. McDaniel has published widely in geography and interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Urban AffairsSoutheastern Geographer, Professional Geographer, Journal of Geography, Papers in Applied Geography, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, Journal of International Migration and Integration, Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, Geographical ReviewJournal of Higher Education Outreach and EngagementJournal of Community Practice, Journal of Race Ethnicity & the City, Law & PolicyMuseums and Social Issues, Health Promotion PracticeJournal of Migration and Health, among others, as well as academic book chapters, and reports and other pieces for a general audience, such as those published with the American Immigration Council, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and Atlanta Studies. He is also the lead editor of Integration and Receptivity in Immigrant Gateway Metro Regions in the United States, from Lexington Books (an Imprint of Rowman & Littlefield, 2024). He has delivered research and applied presentations at many local, regional, national, and international conferences, meetings, workshops, and other venues. 

Dr. McDaniel's teaching interests broadly include regional geography, human geography, urban geography and urban studies, cultural geography, population geography, and health geography. His teaching of geography and teaching philosophy 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, along with travels to Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Burma/Myanmar, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel/Palestine, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Vatican City. He is a strong advocate for domestic study away and study abroad experiences, along with undergraduate research experiences, as high impact practices for student success and engagement. He also contributes to effective online education and is the recipient of the 2024 RCHSS Outstanding Online Teaching Award from the Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Kennesaw State University.

The following is a brief introduction video for one of Dr. McDaniel's recent online courses:

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 cultivates 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. McDaniel is also a National Geographic Society Explorer (NGS-50802E-18). He also supervises undergraduate and graduate research assistants who are interested in immigrant integration and receptivity, including through KSU’s Ph.D. in International Conflict Management program. 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. 

Paul McDanielPreviously, 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. Prior to his work in Washington, McDaniel was at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he assisted community-based participatory research (CBPR) 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.

Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, 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.

Links to Digital Public Research Profiles and Publications: