New faculty profile: Chemistry, physics professor David Collins

Staff Writer

Photo by Melissa Longua
Photo by Melissa Longua

When David Collins first saw the job listing at Franciscan University of Steubenville, he was quite unfamiliar with the school. In the past, he had attended and taught at public schools and universities, but none like Franciscan. He took an interest in the job listing and learned more about the school as he applied.

“It became very rapidly apparent that God was steering me to be here,” said Collins. He is now on his second semester teaching at Franciscan as an associate professor of chemistry and physics.

Franciscan University is a smaller school than he has usually associated with before.

“It was a change, but when it gets down to it, teaching is teaching and science is science,” he said. “So I always had those things to fall back on. Those are my comfort zones.”

Collins received his bachelor’s degree in materials, science and engineering from Ohio State University. Later, in graduate school, he received his doctorate in chemistry.

“I actually always was interested in math and science,” he said. “From an early age, I knew I wanted to do something in that field. My parents have science degrees as well.”

He became interested in education after taking a job as a high school substitute teacher. “I came to education by accident, really — being in the right place at the right time,” he said. He had originally been looking for a position in engineering, and began work as a substitute teacher as “a way to pay the bills.”

“I found I was immediately in love with teaching,” Collins said.

He taught high school science classes for eight years before his return to graduate school, wishing to teach at the college level. Collins worked at different schools in different states, but part of the reason he took interest in a job at Franciscan was a desire to return to Ohio.

“I grew up military, so I lived all over, but high school, college and a good chunk of my adult life I lived in southwest Ohio,” he said. His wife is also from Ohio, so “it was like coming home, going back to a state and a region that we really love.”

He described Steubenville as, “the perfect size town for our family. Franciscan and Steubenville have rapidly become our new home, no questions about it.”

Collins is currently teaching classes on physics and chemistry, including two out of the three physics labs offered by Franciscan University. He enjoys teaching in both fields and is involved with the growing pre-engineering program. In the past, he has had experience in all of these disciplines thanks to his work at high schools and other universities.

“I’ve done a lot, and I feel like I have a lot to share,” he said.

1 Comment

  1. I think he makes Physics exciting, and is very authentic and honest in his example of Catholicism. He has a good perspective of the difference in sciences at a secular university versus Franciscan. Freshman level chemistry with any teacher will be very difficult, because the teachers want you to have a firm and broad foundation and work ethic before you can handle fewer explicitly enforced obligations and shortcuts with responsibility and understanding of what you’re taking for granted.

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