By Jordan Beach
When Dr. Graham Johnson designs courses, he keeps in mind the perspective of his students asking himself, “what would have been helpful if I were a freshman student?”
Earning his doctorate in English at St. Louis University, Johnson worked in the Graduate Student Center as part of his teaching assistantship, an experience that influences his teaching style today.
At Reinhardt, Johnson teaches linguistics, literature – where he is especially interested in the work by the Inklings and Paremiology – the study of Proverbs, among other “wisdom bites.”
Johnson utilizes small class sizes to workshop his assignments with students, allowing his encouragement of students to develop their own topics for major assignments, creating connections between their coursework and their intellectual interests in other subjects.
“When those connections are made, students are much more likely to become ‘life-long learners’ in that their practice and enjoyment making these connections fuels their intellectual development beyond a class with me—continuing years after the semester has finished,” he said.
The associate professor of English is passionate about learning. No matter where he is when he gets an idea for something, he will stop to write it down.
“I never stop thinking about teaching,” said Johnson. “I have eureka moments for teaching all the time.”
Although originally hired as a medievalist in 2007, Johnson created a literature survey class on science fiction, one of the many unique opportunities the University has offered him. Johnson has several intriguing interests, including mountain biking in his neighborhood.
“Apparently my antics are so amusing—jumping off staircases, bunny hopping curbs and manhole covers, doing wheelies—that a group of children stopped playing to watch me fly by, then stood at the bottom of their driveway, chanting “Go! Go! Go!” to encourage even more speed and a trick or two, which I obligingly did.”