Bonnie L. Johnson is a faculty member in our new BA in Human Relations program. She is a teacher and leader in the areas of multicultural relations and social change. A graduate of NYU and Women’s History at Sarah Lawrence College, Johnson has developed and taught courses in African American Women’s History, Black and Ethnic Studies, Women’s Studies and Adult Education at several colleges. She has been an adjunct professor with the CUNY School of Professional Studies for more than 8 years, and will teach Foundations of Human Relations in the spring 2015 term. Professor Johnson shares her thoughts on leadership, the student experience, and more.

Professor Bonnie L. Johnson , Human Relations Program CUNY SPS
1. How is your semester going so far? Any major surprises with the launch of the BA in Human Relations program?

Absolutely. The classes are larger than I’m used to. But it’s fun; they’re all good people.

2. Which five qualities should leaders cultivate in order to thrive within today’s work environment?

1) Authenticity; 2) Do what you say you’re going to do; 3) Believe in yourself and in your followers; 4) Honesty; and 5) Have a vision.

3. You seem to have a knack for being on camera. Have you always been this poised and confident?

No. I’m actually very shy, although students would disagree with that. When I’m in front of a classroom I’m in charge and I guess that comes through on camera, too. I like what I do. I’m a teacher. That’s who I am.

4. What’s coming up for you on the professional front?

I’m getting ready to teach winter session, which, phew, I don’t know. A three-credit course in three weeks. It’s a lot to do, but I’m looking forward to it. I like a challenge.

Professor Johnson also shares some fun facts about her life.

1. Favorite article of fall clothing: A sweatshirt.

2. Best song to listen to after a long day: Anything by Aretha Franklin. I just downloaded her new album where she covers Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.

3. What you’re reading right now: My textbooks. Oh, and Fire Shut Up in My Bones. It’s brilliant.

4. Your claim to fame family recipe: Black eyed peas. With ham.

5. Last time you laughed so hard you cried: In class this semester. I was teaching Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, starting with the physiological needs—things you need in your life to survive. So I went around the classroom and asked my students what they think belongs in that category, and one of them said: “Sex. People say you can die if you go without having sex for a long period of time.”

Thanks, Professor Johnson!

We’ll go and pick up a copy of Fire Shut Up in My Bones this weekend.

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