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




HIED 5103

Access and Equity in Higher Education


HIED 8101

Advanced Seminar on Higher Education Administration


HIED 8103

Equity in Higher Education Policy and Practice


EDAD 0855

Why care about College: Higher Education in American Life


EDAD 0955

Honors Why care about College: Higher Education in American Life


Selected Publications

  • Johnson, J.M. & Winfield, J.D. (2022). Institutionalizing Success: Practices and Policies at HBCUs that Promote Student Development and Degree Attainment. JOURNAL of HIGHER EDUCATION. doi: 10.1080/00221546.2022.2082759

  • Johnson, J.M., Scott, S., Phillips, T., & Rush, A. (2022). Ivy Issues: An Exploration of Black Students' Racialized Interactions on Ivy League Campuses. JOURNAL of DIVERSITY in HIGHER EDUCATION. doi: 10.1037/dhe0000406

  • Mobley, S.D., Johnson, J.M., & Drezner, N.D. (2021). “Why aren't all the White kids sitting together in the cafeteria?”: An exploration of White student experiences at a public HBCU. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. doi: 10.1037/dhe0000298

  • Johnson, J.M., Paris, J.H., Curci, J.D., & Horchos, S. (2021). Beyond College Access: An Exploration of the Short-Term Impact of a Dual Enrollment Program. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory and Practice. doi: 10.1177/15210251211056319

  • 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

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

  • 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

  • (2018). Cultivating Diverse Online Classrooms Through Effective Instructional Design. doi: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3120-3

  • 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. & 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. (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. & 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. (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). 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Fries-Britt, S., Johnson, J., & Burt, B. (2013). Black students in physics: The intersection of academic ability, race, gender, and class. In T.L. Strayhorn & T.L. Strayhorn (Eds.), Living at the intersections: Social identities and Black collegians (pp. 21-39). Charlotte, NC, US: IAP Information Age Publishing. Retrieved from

  • Fries-Britt, S., Johnson, J., & Burt, B. (2013). Black students in Physics: The Intersection of Academic Ability, Race, Gender, and Class. In T. Strayhorn (Ed.), Living at the Intersections: Social Identities and Black Collegians (pp. 21-40). IAP, Information Age Publishing, Incorporated. Retrieved from

  • Blacknall, T. & Johnson, J.M. (2011). Selective HBCUs: A Competitive Option. Online Submission. Retrieved from