Education professor, researcher believes in the value of mentorship – USC News & Events

Despite growing up as the son of a special education teacher, Jamil D. Johnson didn’t consider being a teacher himself until he was well along in his undergraduate studies as a major. in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Chicago native says his transition to education was through the mentorship of his professors throughout his college career.

“The idea of ​​becoming a teacher and in the long run, being a professor really came about by chance and it was through mentorship,” says Johnson, clinical assistant professor of educational leadership and policy at the College of Education. “Dr. James Anderson from the University of Illinois really inspired me to pursue higher education.

Johnson says once he started working in higher education with experiences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the University of Central Florida, he knew he had made the right choice.

“I knew I wanted to work with students, but I’ll tell you, being a teacher is the biggest impact. It’s the biggest job you can have.”

Johnson is also Associate Director of Research and Grants at the National Resource Center for Freshman Experience and Transitioning Students, where he is responsible for maintaining the center’s research agenda while developing and maintaining partnerships with student affairs, higher education, and research organizations in the United States and around the world.

“It’s important that they see someone like me as a teacher, so they can see themselves and the paths to success.”

Jamil Johnson

His own scholarship examines the experiences of African American men in the educational pipeline from pre-K through undergraduate and graduate programs. Johnson’s published work includes Access and Engagement of Historically Underrepresented and Marginalized Students in Higher Education, Black and Latino Student Success, Freshman Experience, Freshman Seminars, Pedagogy of teaching and learning and mentoring – all topics close to her heart because of her own experiences.

“A lot of the experiences that I’ve had, other African American men have had as well. And I recognize and understand the critical importance of their voices being heard,” Johnson said. “And it’s important that they see someone like me as a teacher, so they can see themselves and the paths to success.”

In addition to his research and work with the National Resource Center, Johnson also works with graduate students in higher education, teaches courses, and helps prepare the next generation of college professionals.

“As teachers, we’re not just teachers or just advisers, we’re mentors,” he says. “I don’t think I would be sitting in this space without the power of mentorship. It has helped me clearly identify the path to the teaching profession, and that’s how I view mentorship for my students.

For this, he focuses on a simple question: “How are you?

“This one question can mean a world of difference to those you serve.”

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