Publish Date

New faculty member Dr. Lesa Johnson (Sociology) brings new research and teaching interests to UIS Sociology/Anthropology, expanding opportunities for students. Dr. Johnson joined the UIS faculty as Associate Professor of Sociology in August 2022.

Dr. Johnson earned her PhD in Sociology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2016, then went on to earn tenure as a faculty member in Sociology at California State University Chico, where she received many awards for her service as an outstanding faculty member.

Dr. Johnson’s research and teaching interests include sociological theory, inequality, social psychology, social support and intersectionality (race, ethnicity, class, and gender). This spring, she is teaching SOA 101 Introduction to Sociology, SOA 231 ECCE: Introduction to Race & Ethnicity in the U.S., and SOA 461 Social Psychology: Sociological Perspectives. She also teaches a core course in Sociocultural Theories (SOA 405). Dr. Johnson strives to build an “inclusive classroom where students understand and respect diverse viewpoints, and where their diverse ways of learning are valued.”

Dr. Johnson’s sociological research uses participant observation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups to study how social network support affects economic mobility of Black women in the U.S. She used similar methods to study resources needed for Black student success at predominantly white institutions (PWI) – and built on this research to establish a University Freedom School in collaboration with Black student leaders at Chico State. Dr. Johnson's current project is a study of social support for pastors in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, funded by a million-dollar grant from the Lilly Endowment.

Dr. Johnson’s expertise and interests are already enriching SOA curriculum, revitalizing a course in social psychology (the study of how individuals, groups, and societies influence each other). SOA faculty and students are excited to get to know Dr. Johnson and looking forward to seeing what new directions her teaching and research take at UIS!