Conor McLaughlin

Ph.D. in Leadership Studies

About Me

I earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Cabrini College in Radnor PA, and an M.A. in Organizational Leadership with a focus on higher and post-secondary education from Teachers College, Columbia University. I’ve held professional positions at Cornell University, San Diego State University, and UC San Diego in areas of residence life and multicultural affairs.

I currently serve as one of the Graduate Assistants for the Center for Inclusion and Diversity at USD, and am a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Department of Leadership Studies in SOLES. I am also a member of the Rainbow Educators, a group of students, faculty, and staff that do social justice trainings around campus that focus on the LGBT Community, and I serve as the President of the SOLES Graduate Student Association (SGSA). Lastly, I host a weekly podcast called LIFE WORK BALANCES that focuses on student affairs professionals, their career paths, and their work to regain energy and rejuvenation. I wear many hats, often more than one at a time.

In addition to the work above, I am a Teaching Assistant for LEAD 550/600: Leadership Theory and Practice. I’ve also had the opportunity to be a guest lecturer for LEAD 565: Race, Gender, and Community. These opportunities have been amazing experiences to engage masters and doctoral students in conversations around identity, the dynamics of power and privilege, and social justice, all of which are passions and areas of interest to me.

What do you hope to do with your degree?

I hope to continue my work as a student affairs practitioner, and work as an organizational change consultant.

How did you hear about SOLES, and why did you choose to enroll?

A former student with whom I worked very closely started the program a few years before me, and spoke very highly of it. It piqued my interest, and a few years later I decided that I wanted to begin working on a PhD. The more I learned about the program in SOLES, the more I thought it was a good place for me.

Tell us about any research you have done at SOLES.

I am currently working on 3 different pieces of research that I hope to publish within the next year, but they are all in the very early stages and my co-authors and I are still defining their scope.

How has your SOLES education impacted your career goals?

It has solidified for me the importance of a social justice framework and a passion for change in the field of student affairs. SOLES has also helped me to develop my own abilities as a facilitator, educator, and writer.

Which class has impacted you the most?

LEAD 550/600. The practice of creating change in the moment and the vulnerability of sharing that process with others inspires me every single day.

Are there specific SOLES faculty, staff or administrators you feel have contributed significantly to your success?

Dr. Mary McDonald continues to push me in so many ways, and for that I am very grateful. Also, Dr. Fred Galloway for finally giving me the confidence to tackle statistical analysis and quantitative methods. It wasn’t easy, but I can truly say I understand the importance of it in research and learning.

What are your plans for after graduation?

Continue to work as a student affairs practitioner, develop an organizational change consulting agency, make LIFE WORK BALANCES a sustainable entity and continual resource to the field of student affairs.

Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective students?

Sometimes the only word to describe this work is “HARD”, but few things that are this rewarding are ever easy.