Scott McGinnis, PhD

Title: Senior Academic Advisor, Professor
Company: Defense Language Institute
Location: Silver Spring, Maryland, United States

Scott McGinnis, PhD, Senior Academic Advisor and Professor at the Defense Language Institute, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in language education.

Upon serving for four years with the U.S. Navy, with time spent in Vietnam, Dr. McGinnis sought to build himself a new career trajectory in the humanities. In an aptitude test for the military, he scored high, meaning that the Army would select the language he could do based on his rank; thus he pursued Chinese. He attained a diploma in basic Chinese from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California in 1978, along with a Bachelor of Science in history from the University of the State of New York, now Excelsior College, in 1980. Continuing his education, he achieved a Master of Arts in the Chinese language from the Ohio State University in 1984 and a certificate in advanced studies from the Beijing Language Institute in China in 1985 before spearheading his professional endeavors.

At the start of his career, Dr. McGinnis served the Ohio State University as a graduate teaching associate from 1985 until obtaining his Doctor of Philosophy in East Asian languages and literatures in 1990. He then continued his teaching career, having been an assistant professor of Chinese at the University of Oregon from 1990 to 1993 and an adjunct assistant professor of Chinese at the University of Maryland for 10 years until 2003. Notably, between 1999 and 2003, Dr. McGinnis excelled as the executive director of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages and as an associate at the National Foreign Language Center. Since 2003, he has flourished as an academic advisor and professor at the Defense Language Institute in Washington, D.C., having been an associate professor for four years until 2007.

Alongside his primary position, Dr. McGinnis was appointed the McDermott Endowed Chair Guest Professor of Chinese at the United States Military Academy in 2003. A skilled writer and speaker alike, he has published numerous educational works and presentations. Over the years, he has also offered his expertise on a visiting and instructor basis at the University of Pennsylvania, Wake Forest University, Middlebury College and Indiana University. To remain abreast of his field, Dr. McGinnis maintains professional affiliation with the Modern Language Association of America, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and Chinese Language Teachers Association, of which he has served as president, vice president and executive board member between 1993 and 1998.

Renowned for his distinguished career in language education, Dr. McGinnis was the recipient of the A. Ronald Walton Award from the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages in 2016. In 1995, he took home a Summer Research Award from the Office of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Maryland, among other achievements. Dr. McGinnis attributes his success to attention to detail, as learning the Chinese script has a certain sense of logic and order. He also credits his experience to his management positions, adding that he was the only academic advisor with 250 students enrolled, keeping track of them all with some degree of order. Looking ahead, Dr. McGinnis looks forward to retiring and expanding the horizons of the field and his business with the use of technology.

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