Sean O’Connell

Associate Teaching Professor


A full-time faculty member in the College of Professional Studies' Foundation Year program, Sean O’Connell has taught English composition and professional speaking classes since 2010. Prior to his time at Northeastern, Sean taught at Westfield State University, and he began his career as a middle school and high school English teacher. He earned his Doctor of Education degree from Northeastern University in 2018, his thesis focusing on young, Pell-Grant eligible, Black male students' perceptions of their experiences in a first-year college program.

Sean is interested in how students transition from high school to college, both in terms of their literacy skills and their academic habits (e.g., their attendance, timely completion of work, amount of focused time put into studying, etc.). He also studies college student engagement theories, particularly as they apply to first-generation college students, students from lower income families, and students of color, particularly young men.

Knowing that students’ academic performance is influenced by many variables, Sean is also mindful of other factors that affect students when pursuing a college degree: their physical and mental health, nutrition, social life, family supports, and financial stability. Based on his work in Foundation Year, he is intrigued by the phenomenon of hard working students outperforming those students with stronger academic skills but inconsistent study habits. He has become interested in student characteristics he feels can lead to academic success: feeling valued and respected as a person and student, developing good relationships with caring adults and role models, the ability to work through setbacks, dealing proactively with distractions, and consistent class attendance and completion of assigned work.     



EdD from Northeastern University (2018)