Advisor Spotlight: John Schorr, Ph.D.

Interested in terrorism and disaster preparation and response?  Passionate about global economic development, population and the environment?  Or, do you just need some expert advice on how to conduct research to help your community, or to properly undertake a public opinion survey?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to meet John Schorr.

John Schorr is Senior Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida (where John and Learning Life founder, Paul Lachelier, were colleagues), Co-Director of Stetson’s Institute for Social Research, and – we are happy to add – a supporter of and advisor to Learning Life.

John SchorrBorn and raised in New York, John graduated from Hartwick College with his bachelor’s degree, the New School for Social Research with his Master’s, and Brown University with his Ph.D., specializing in sociology throughout.  After teaching briefly at the City University of New York-Staten Island Campus, John began his teaching and research career at Stetson University in 1975.  Over his career, he has taught the sociology of development, the city, population and the environment, as well as statistics, community-based research, and that staple of so many sociology professors: introduction to sociology.

As a researcher, John has published and presented numerous research articles on the impact of disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, the Oklahoma City Bombing, and Three Mile Island, on communities and first responders.  He co-authored the book Demanding Democracy after Three Mile Island (1991) with Raymond L. Goldsteen, and was a consultant on the design of a national Gallup Survey on terrorism.  In recent years, John has spear-headed the development of community-based research at Stetson University to get students directly involved in research benefiting local communities.

As a volunteer, John has served for 25 years on the Board of Directors of Community Outreach Services, a local substance abuse treatment agency, for over 20 years as a member and then Vice Chair of the International Board of Partners of the Americas (the largest non-profit for people-to-people cultural exchange in the hemisphere), for 10 years as President of the Florida-Colombia Partners chapter of the Partners of the Americas, and for 7 years as a research consultant to a variety of local community organizations.

Since Learning Life’s founding in 2012, John has advised us on various issues and attended our monthly meetings.  Asked why he volunteers for Learning Life, John says,

“The concept of Learning Life intrigues me.  I think we may be on the verge of developing a model for increasing awareness and critical thinking for people not ordinarily involved in the major political and social debates of the day.”

Now in semi-retirement, John teaches full-time in the spring semester at Stetson University, then travels with his wife, Phijitra, to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where they stay from July to January each year.

Learning Life thanks John for his volunteerism!

To learn more about volunteering with Learning Life and other ways you can help, contact us at