James P. Cooney: A Profile


James P. Cooney is a tenured, full professor in the Humanities Division of Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

His professional career began in 1966 at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh where he taught two courses in English Composition each semester for two years while completing a Master's degree in English. His academic specialty at Duquesne was American literature, and his thesis was entitled Melville, Whitman, and the Civil War. He also holds an undergraduate degree from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York.

Mr. Cooney's first full-time position was as an Instructor in English at the State University of New York at Oswego (1968-1971) where, in addition to teaching English composition and American literature courses, he proposed, developed, and taught courses in Satire, American Social Drama, and Science Fiction. He was one of the first to offer science fiction courses on the college level.

From 1971 to 1973, Mr. Cooney was an Instructor in English at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, Massachusetts; and in 1973, he was appointed Assistant Professor of English at Montgomery County Community College. In the late seventies, he served as vice-president and then president of the Faculty Senate at MCCC. In 1978, he completed doctoral course work and comprehensive examinations at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Through the 1980's, Mr. Cooney taught American literature and writing courses at Montgomery. His writings about educational and political issues have appeared in various magazines, newspapers, and professional journals. In 1993, after the English Department at MCCC was absorbed into the Humanities Division, Mr. Cooney was approved to teach philosophy courses and has done so every semester since.

In the late 1990's, Mr. Cooney worked with William E. Strasburg, a founding Board member of Montgomery County Community College, on a book which they hope will inspire people, especially young people, to become more involved in their communities. The book, entitled In Search of Community: Reversing the Course of a Nation in Conflict, was published in October of 2000. In recent years, Mr. Cooney has served terms as MCCC Coordinator of Philosophy and as Coordinator of English.

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