DU profs married to the books and each other

Kellen Stepler | Features Editor

02/12/2020

Love is in the air and also on the Bluff. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are the stories of some Duquesne professors who work in the same hallways as their spouses.

 

The Kinnahans

Tom and Linda Kinnahan, both English professors at Duquesne, have been married for 26 years. Linda came to Duquesne in 1990, while Tom began his career as a Duke in 2007.

Courtesy of the Kinnahans | Last December, Tom and Linda’s daughter, Chloe, graduated from Duquesne with a degree in Political Science and a minor in women and gender studies (WGS). Linda co-founded the WGS minor.

They met during graduate school at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Linda explained that they originally met as teaching assistants, and are used to working with each other.

“We were good friends for a long time,” Linda said.

Linda came from a family of teachers, and she taught high school art and English for six years before moving up to higher education.

“I like working with younger people,” Linda said. “I like the energy of a classroom.”

Tom explained that when he got his undergraduate degree from JMU in 1982, the job market was poor. He was able to get a teaching fellowship to complete his masters degree, and he found that he enjoyed teaching. He worked in journalism and PR for a while, but found he missed teaching. They were already married when he got his doctoral, and found a teaching position at Carlow University.

There was an open position at Duquesne teaching with 19th century American literature, which Tom considered “his specialty.”

“Carlow was a good experience, but Duquesne’s opening was more of my specialty,” Tom said.

For the Kinnahans, the benefits are aplenty from working together.

“I don’t have to explain my job to him,” Linda said. “It sounds corny, but he’s just a really good guy and colleague. I’d say that even if we weren’t married.”

“It’s good to have someone to talk to about teaching, and she gives me advice sometimes,” Tom said. “It’s good to have conversations with someone who’s familiar with my work and profession.”

Obviously, Duquesne has had an impact on their family as well. Their daughter, Chloe, recently graduated from Duquesne with a degree in political science. Although it wasn’t in English, Chloe earned a women and gender studies minor, which Linda helped co-found.

“It’s a place where our friends are also people who teach,” Linda said. “It’s felt like home for a long time.”

Despite working in the same department, the two actually don’t see each other a lot during the work day.

“We work in different areas of literature,” Linda said. “We get along really well, and there’s no conflict with work. It’s a collegial relationship.”

Linda said that the hardest part of working together is finding ways not to discuss work obsessively.

“We have to leave work at work,” Linda said.

All in all, the Kinnahans are happy to find a place to work together at Duquesne.

“I’m grateful that we have this opportunity for both of us to find a place at Duquesne and contribute,” Linda said.

 

The Scheids

Courtesy of the Scheids | The Scheids began working at Duquesne in 2007 and have three children, ranging from six to 11.

Daniel and Anna Scheid, both theology professors at Duquesne, have been married since 2006. They both started at Duquesne in 2007.

Daniel explained that they met in church, at Anna’s campus ministry at Northwestern University. Anna noted that they met singing in the choir and then ended up in the same masters’ program. They would then earn their masters’ degrees in theology from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and went on to receive their doctorates in theology from Boston College.

For Daniel, going into teaching was a “natural fit.” He said that he has always loved learning and exploring ideas, and enjoys working with students who could also explore complicated ideas.

Being familiar with the job and knowing what their spouse is doing is one of the benefits of working together, according to Daniel.

“We can commute in and eat lunch together,” Daniel said. “Our personal and professional lives can mix.”

“We can also talk through work related concerns or hopes with confidence that the other person knows exactly what we’re talking about,” Anna said.

Although the familiarity of their jobs is a plus, Daniel noted that doing things at the same time, like grading final exams or writing research papers, can be challenging.

“We have to switch gears from our professional life to our personal life. We’ll be discussing a recent department meeting, and then ask, well, who’s taking Clare to gymnastics tonight?” Daniel said.

“We do a good job between college stuff and personal stuff.”

The Scheids have three children; 11-year-old Henry, 9-year-old Clare and 6-year-old Eamon.

“Our kids love coming in to our offices, watching TV and eating candy in there,” Daniel said. “They’ve been to every open house; its like Halloween to them.”

The Scheids have balanced their work and personal lives for the entire duration of their careers.

“We’ve either been in school together or at work together for our entire relationship. It might feel weird at this point not to work in the same place,” Anna said.

Daniel said his one regret of working with his wife is that they’ve never co-taught a class – yet.

“We’ve guest lectured in each other’s classes before and have co-written a book together, but we’ve never co-taught a class yet,” Daniel said.

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