Dr. Jennifer Johnson has been an active scholar-practitioner in the fields of college access and student retention. A former Philadelphia middle school teacher with a background in science and mathematics, she spent several years working as a counselor and advisor for college access and success programs. Broadly defined, her research areas include pre-college access programs, historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and high-achieving students of color. This scholarship, both qualitative and quantitative in nature, examines intersections of race, class, and gender with a focus on how institutional contexts shape college access, experiences, and outcomes among Black students. In 2014, Dr. Johnson launched a large-scale qualitative research project focusing on the college choice motivations, collegiate experiences, and outcomes of HBCU alumni.

Research Interests

  • Postsecondary Education
  • Qualitative Research
  • Retention

Courses Taught




EDAD 0855

Why care about College: Higher Education in American Life


HIED 5103

Access and Equity in Higher Education


HIED 8103

Equity in Higher Education Policy and Practice


Selected Publications

  • Mobley, S.D. & Johnson, J.M. (2019). “No Pumps Allowed”: The “Problem” With Gender Expression and the Morehouse College “Appropriate Attire Policy”. Journal of Homosexuality, 66(7), pp. 867-895. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2018.1486063

  • Williams, M.S. & Johnson, J.M. (2019). Predicting the quality of black women collegians' relationships with faculty at a public historically Black university. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 12(2), pp. 115-125. doi: 10.1037/dhe0000077

  • Johnson, J.M., Boss, G., Mwangi, C.G., & Garcia, G.A. (2018). Resisting, Rejecting, and Redefining Normative Pathways to the Professoriate: Faculty of Color in Higher Education. Urban Review, 50(4), pp. 630-647. doi: 10.1007/s11256-018-0459-8

  • Johnson, J.M. (2017). Social Norms, Gender Ratio Imbalance, Perceptions of Risk, and the Sexual Behaviors of African American Women at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Journal of African American Studies, 21(2), pp. 203-215. doi: 10.1007/s12111-017-9354-8

  • Johnson, J.M. & Henderson, Z. (2017). Social work education and cultural competence: The role of historically black colleges and universities. In Professional Education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Past Trends and Outcomes (pp. 91-102). doi: 10.4324/9781315389165

  • Johnson, J.M. (2017). Choosing elites: Experiences of working-class black undergraduate women at an Ivy League University. In Critical Perspectives on Black Women and College Success (pp. 158-169). doi: 10.4324/9781315744421

  • Johnson, J.M. (2017). Choosing HBCUS: Why African Americans choose HBCUs in the twenty-first century. In Advances in Education in Diverse Communities: Research, Policy and Praxis, 14 (pp. 151-169). doi: 10.1108/S1479-358X20160000014008

  • Johnson, J.M. & McGowan, B.L. (2017). Untold Stories: The Gendered Experiences of High Achieving African American Male Alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Journal of African American Males in Education, 8(1), pp. 23-44. Retrieved from

  • Johnson, J.M. (2016). Managing transitions, building bridges: An evaluation of a summer bridge program for African American scientists and engineers. Journal for Multicultural Education, 10(2), pp. 206-216. doi: 10.1108/JME-01-2016-0010

  • Johnson, J. (2016). Preparing to Lead: The Socialization of Black Women for Faculty and Administrative Careers through Graduate School. In B.L.H. Marina & S.N. Ross (Eds.), Beyond Retention: Cultivating Spaces of Equity, Justice, and Fairness for Women of Color in U.S. Higher Education (pp. 103-124). Information Age Publishing, Incorporated. Retrieved from

  • Johnson, J. (2016). From Smarty Pants to Scholar: A Personal Journey of Self-
    Acceptance. In D.Y. Ford, J.L. Davis, M.T. Scott, & Y. SealeyRuiz (Eds.), Gumbo for the Soul: Liberating Memoirs and Stories to Inspire Females of Color (pp. 185-188). Information Age Publishing. Retrieved from

  • Mobley, S.D. & Johnson, J.M. (2015). The Role of HBCUs in Addressing the Unique Needs of LGBT Students., 2015 (pp. 79-89). Wiley. doi: 10.1002/he.20133

  • Johnson, J.M. & Snider, J.C. (2015). PhorwarD Progress: Experiences of Academic, Professional, and Personal Mentorship in the Academy. In B.L.H. Marina (Ed.), Mentoring Away the Glass Ceiling in Academia: A Cultured Critique (pp. 3-16). Lexington Books. Retrieved from