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Visiting Scholar Spotlight

Donnermeyer Joseph F. Donnermeyer, PhD
By Robert L. Nicewarner

Dr. Joseph F. Donnermeyer visited West Virginia University in September 2016, which gave me the opportunity to interview him. Dr. Donnermeyer is currently a Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. He received his MA (1974) and Ph.D (1977) from the University of Kentucky. In his more than thirty-five years as an educator and researcher, Dr. Donnermeyer has contributed and continues to contribute to the areas of rural crime and Amish studies in several distinct ways related to teaching, service, and research. What unites those two distinctive research topics is his graduate specialization, which was the sociology of the community.

Dr. Donnermeyer has taught at The Ohio State University for thirty-eight years, where he acquired teaching awards such as the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities 2010 North Central Regional Teaching Award and The Ohio State Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2004. Among his many other accomplishments, he served as the Chair of The Ohio State Academy of Teaching from 2005-2010. His passion for teaching was obvious to me. He said that he tries “to be a combination of Steven Colbert and a student’s favorite Grandpa”, utilizing humor in the classroom to get students interested in the sociological dimensions of rural societies, which is his most frequently taught class (RS 1500 – Introduction to Rural Sociology). I also asked what advice he would give to students and he gave me this bit of wisdom: “Show up, pay attention, and take notes. Just like one has to do in the business world”.

Dr. Donnermeyer not only has a passion for service and teaching, but he is also highly active in numerous domestic and international research activities. He serves as a Research Associate with the Research Center on Violence at West Virginia University. Moreover, Dr. Donnermeyer is the founder and editor of the International Journal of Rural Criminology, as well as the co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies.

His enthusiasm for, and dedication to, rural sociology and criminology does not stop at these appointments. He, too, is the co-author, along with the Research Center’s Director Dr. Walter DeKeseredy, of Rural Criminology (2014) and editor of the recently released Routledge International Handbook of Rural Criminology.  Dr. Donnermeyer has worked closely with our Director, Dr. Walter DeKeseredy for many years. They have shared in the growth of rural criminology, both making extensive contributions to the literature of male-peer support theory, criticisms of social organization theory, and development of a new place-based criminological theory. Currently Dr. Donnermeyer is working on a project on Amish demography with Associate Professors of Sociology Dr. Corey Colyer and Dr. Rachel Stein

For more information about Dr. Joseph F. Donnermeyer, please see his website.