Applied Social Sciences Dept


Gloria Rhodes
Dept. Chair & Assoc. Professor

Rhodes is associate professor of peacebuilding and conflict studies. She chairs the department of Applied Social Sciences and coordinates the Peacebuilding and Development undergraduate major. She teaches graduate and undergraduate peacebuilding courses including conflict analysis, peacebuilding theory and practice and the integration of these. She anchors the core MA in conflict transformation course, Foundations for Peacebuilding I.

She has taught and held various administrative positions at Eastern Mennonite University since 1988. She has led undergraduate cross cultural study seminars to Ireland and Northern Ireland, Russia, and South Korea. She has also served as Administrative Director of the Summer Peacebuilding Institute.

Rhodes holds a Ph.D. from George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Her dissertation research compared conflict transformation and conflict resolution definitions and whether there are differences in practice between these two schools of thought. Additional research and teaching interests include evaluation and assessment in conflict transformation/resolution practice; conflict analysis, integration of conceptual and practical knowledge in peacebuilding; peacebuilding pedagogy, and cross-cultural education.

Deanna Durham
Assistant Professor

Deanna F. Durham, graduate of Northwest Nazarene College (undergrad) and Howard University (M.S.W.) began her teaching career at the University of Maryland in 1989 teaching part-time in the Department of Family Studies.

Deanna worked and lived in Washington, D.C. for 17 years from 1982 – 1997. She worked at a faith-based non-profit, Community of Hope, Inc., located in the 14th Street corridor which had burned down during the 1968 race riots. Over her 17 years in D.C. she directed a neighborhood after school educational enrichment and mentoring program for children and youth who were homeless, directed a social services program in three facilities for homeless and drug addicted families and in her final 3 years was the Deputy Director of the entire organization with a budget of more than 1.5 million. During these years she testified before Congress on behalf of families living in substandard housing, served on D.C. Commission of Social Services, Howard University’s School of Social Work Curriculum Committee and served on the boards of Parkmont School, Free the Children Trust, and Bright Beginnings Child Development Center.

Deanna and her family lived in El Salvador for over 4 years serving as the Country Directors for Mennonite Central Committee. Much of their work involved mental health and trauma work after the 12 year civil war. They also focused on sustainable agriculture, education and youth initiatives. They returned to Harrisonburg, VA after their MCC term in late 2001.

Deanna joined the EMU faculty in fall 2003 as the Director of Community Learning, a new initiative of the Lilly Grant: Theological Exploration of Vocation. Her primary focus for the first year was cultivating relationships with the local community with the goal of providing learning experiences for EMU students outside the classroom. Many of these contacts with local non-profits, churches, the local Islamic mosque, public and private institutions and with many of the refugees and immigrants who have recently arrived in the Shenandoah Valley continue to provide excellent “real life” examples and input for her current courses.

Jenni Holsinger
Associate Professor Sociology

Jenni Holsinger received her PhD in sociology from the University of Washington and her undergraduate degree from Seattle Pacific University. As an associate professor in the Department of Applied Social Sciences she teaches courses on environment and society, research methods, social movements, and stratification. Jenni’s research interests include demography and migration, environmental sociology, race and ethnic relations, and urban sociology. Her current research involves a quantitative approach to understanding environmental inequity and the immigrant experience. Jenni enjoys accompanying students on study abroad trips and adventures with her family.

Carol Hurst
Associate Professor

Dr. Carol Hurst is associate professor of Social Work. She is the Program Director for Social Work, since 2014, in the department of Applied Social Sciences. She teaches History & Philosophy of Social Welfare, Social Policy, Social Work Practice I (micro methods), Social Work Practice III (macro methods), Bases for Trauma-informed Caring, as well as Family & Human Behavior in Social Environment courses.

Hurst holds Masters & Ph.D. degrees in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Virginia. Her years of clinical practice have focused on children, youth, and families from a predominantly family systems’ perspective. Her research and writing collaborations have focused on clinical supervision, boundaries management, & parenting concerns like quality child care and breastfeeding, as well as learning outcomes evaluation. Hurst holds expertise in early childhood development and parenting, as well as clinical supervision. She has a special interest in preparing clinicians for respectful practice to enhance parenting performance. She is a licensed clinical social worker with experience supervising individuals from the student to licensure candidate levels. She has been providing clinical supervision for counselors and social workers serving children, youth, and families since 1993. She sees herself as a bridge person between the academic world and the “real” world of practice.

Previously, Dr. Hurst served as Director of Continuing Education for Providence Service Corporation. While with Providence, Dr Hurst served as a national service line leader for clinical supervision within Providence’s Corporate University (CUP). She designed the curriculum and taught CUP’s rigorous on-line continuing education course Providing Effective Clinical Supervision: An intensive clinic for clinical supervisors. While with Providence, she participated in promotion and delivery of trainings on Trauma Informed Care for Providence’s workforce throughout the U.S. in collaboration with the National Council on Community Behavioral Health learning communities for trauma-informed care.

Melody Pannell
Assistant Professor of Social

Melody M. Pannell was born and raised in Harlem, New York City. Growing up, she attended Seventh Avenue Mennonite Church in Harlem, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan and Wilfred Academy of Beauty where she studied fashion, cosmetology, music and the arts. In 1990, Melody M. Pannell received her calling from The Lord to minister to the holistic needs of adolescent girls while serving as a youth counselor at Camp Deerpark Inc. In response to her call, she started The Seventh Avenue Mennonite Church Girls Group from 1990 – 1993, which has evolved into The Destiny’s Daughter’s Empowerment Ministry LLC. In 1992, Melody M. Pannell obtained a Foundational Church Ministries Certificate from The Evangelical Training Association at The New York School of The Bible.

In continued pursuit of her calling towards Christian Ministry and the field of Clinical Counseling, Melody M. Pannell graduated from Eastern Mennonite University, receiving her Bachelors in Social Work and Youth Ministry in 1997. She also holds a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University in New York City and in addition, Pannell recently obtained a Masters of Divinity and Masters of Arts in Christian Education degree from The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.

Melody M. Pannell has served in the field of Social Work, Higher Education and Christian Ministry for over 25 years. Pannell was recognized for serving for over 5 years as The University Counselor in The Office of Counseling Services at Virginia Union University where she empowered students to overcome their obstacles, realize their potential and reach their academic and personal goals. Prior to her appointment at Virginia Union University, Pannell served for over 5 years as the Director of Multicultural Services at Eastern Mennonite University from 2003 – 2008.

Currently, she is the newly appointed Assistant Professor of Social Work in the Department of Applied Social Sciences, returning back to her former alma mater, Eastern Mennonite University.

It is her life mission to embody practical theology through the values and ethics of social work and encourage those that she serves to engage in a transformative journey of “emancipatory hope in action” and empowerment through holistic, therapeutic and restorative ministry. In her mission to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and reach out to young people all over the world, Melody M. Pannell is the Founder and Executive Director of The Destiny’s Daughters Empowerment Ministry LLC. and the Assistant Executive Director of Men About Positive Purpose LLC, a spiritual empowerment and personal leadership development program which strives to assist adolescents and young adults to evolve into persons of good character and integrity, enable them to overcome challenges and realize their God – Given purpose through therapeutic mentorship, spiritual formation, community organizing.

Timothy Seidel

Timothy Seidel teaches courses on politics, development, and peacebuilding in the Department of Applied Social Sciences and the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. He previously taught at American University and Lancaster Theological Seminary. Seidel has worked in various development and peacebuilding contexts in North America and the Middle East, including serving for several years with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), first as peace development worker in Palestine-Israel and then as director for Peace and Justice Ministries in the U.S.

Carolyn Stauffer
Assistant Professor

Carolyn Stauffer has taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels at 2 higher education institutions on the African continent and holds a doctorate in Sociology from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. She lived and worked in Southern Africa (16 years) and the Middle East (17 years). Stauffer has conducted trainings in Asia, the South Pacific, North America, East and Central Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. As a veteran in cross-cultural settings, Stauffer is an agile educator who uses both left and right brain educational approaches to engage our postmodern and global world.

Stauffer’s research interests include gender-based violence, social capital, resilience and trauma, and intersectionality theory applications. Undergirding Stauffer’s academic pursuits is a rich tapestry of work experience in the human service and humanitarian aid arenas. While in the U.S., Stauffer worked in the mental health field in the Shenandoah Valley as well as researching urban demographics amongst marginalized center-city communities in Richmond, Virginia. During her decade and a half in Africa, Stauffer worked under the auspice of MCC, an international relief and development organization with development and emergency assistance training initiatives that took her from the southern-most tip of the continent (Cape Town) to the outlaying eastern parts of Uganda (Jinja).

During her time in South Africa, Stauffer worked as an organizational development consultant (with NGOs and blue chip companies undergoing dramatic post-Apartheid workplace diversity shifts), in the domestic and gender-based violence field (as a senior trauma counselor and public relations officer for a rape crisis support center), and as a community development specialist (and founding member of a Soweto-based HIV/AIDS Program servicing AIDS infected or affected communities living in the informal settlements surrounding Johannesburg). Stauffer weaves the depth and breadth of these many and varied experiences into her decade of teaching.

Carolyn is married to CJP professor Dr. Carl Stauffer, and together they have had the privilege of sharing life with two university-age children. Carolyn is fluent in Hebrew, loves dance, music and art, and enjoys all things creative, imaginative and off the beaten track.


Ben Bailey
Office Coordinator
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