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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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Brenda Burns is a current student in our new BA in Human Relations degree program. Read about her experiences here at the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

Brenda Burns, current student in CUNY SPS BA Human Relations program

1. Why did you choose to continue your education at CUNY SPS?

I continued my education at CUNY SPS because they offered the new B.A. program in Human Relations.

2. What is the single most important professional or personal goal that you would like to achieve during your studies at CUNY SPS or after graduation?

My goal during or after graduation is to be a guidance counselor in a school or a counselor in another organization helping children.

3. How have you grown intellectually as a result of your studies at CUNY SPS?

I have definitely have grown intellectually more than I could have imagined as a result of enrolling with CUNY SPS. I’m forever grateful for all that I’ve learn in the courses that I have taken.

4. What advice would you offer to someone considering applying for admission to the program?

I’ve already given advice to a co-worker that the setting at CUNY SPS is like a family, and any help she might need someone is always available to assist her. Also, I told a co-worker that the courses given are excellent for my professional development as your personal life. She is now enrolled for her second semester and loves it. She thanks me all the time for recommending CUNY SPS.

Brenda also shared some fun facts about her life.

1. Place of residence: Far Rockaway Beach. I worked in the city for 29 years so the travel is not a problem. I love the city.

2. Favorite CUNY SPS course: I can’t say I have a favorite course because they all have something different to bring to the table. However, I can say I lean toward courses that help me understand teaching  children because I work with the DOE

3. Weirdest place you have studied: On the train. Other than that I’m usually studying at home or at work during my lunch break. I can’t study with music on it’s a distraction to me.

5. Best thing about your community or NYC: The diversity of people and all that it has to offerBroadway theaters, Times Square, restaurants, land marks such as the statue of liberty and empire state building and living across the street from the beach.

Thanks, Brenda!

We wish you continued success with your studies this semester.