overview of research agenda:

My research agenda is primarily concerned with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues in higher education. I employ qualitative methodologies and critical and organizational theories to broadly: 1) explore how students, faculty, and staff social identities (e.g., race, gender, sexuality, class, religious identities) intersect and influence their time in higher education environments and 2) conduct organizational analyses of the role, and responsibility higher education institutions play in facilitating the experiences of historically underrepresented students, faculty, and staff. Together, I use these two strands to illuminate the complexities of institutional members' identities, describe their lived experiences, and hold institutions accountable for advancing policies and practices that promote equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Research Areas of Interest and Expertise:

  • College student Race, gender, class, and other social identities

      • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) issues in higher education

      • Men of color in higher education and their varied collegiate experiences

  • College health and wellness outcomes for LGBTQ college students of color at HBCUs and Predominately White Institutions (PWIs)

      • LGBTQ student experiences with access to mental and physcial healthcare

      • LGBTQ student health promotion and prevention

      • College healthcare professional cultural and professional development

      • College healthcare policies and services

  • College access and success outcomes

  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Racially+ Equity Serving Institutions

      • Organizational processes related to the inclusion and liberation of Black Queer and trans* Individuals.

  • Higher education climate, culture, leadership, innovation, and change

  • Black queer theory frameworks

  • Qualitative methods (e.g., case study methods, autoethnography, critical approaches to research, community-based participatory research)

RESEARCH grants and fellowships

Research Grant Funding:

  • Leading Educational Advances in Research and New Technologies Award Program (LEARNT) Grant

Research Project: Institutionalizing Queer and Trans* Student Inclusion at HBCUs

Funding amount: $18,000

Funding term(s): 2022-2023

Research Fellowships:

  • 2020 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow

Research Project: Quaring HBCUs: A Case Study Investigating and Theorizing Queer and Trans* Student Inclusion at Two HBCUs

Funding amount: $27,500

Funding Term(s): 2020-2021


InstitutionalizING queer and trans* student INCLUSION at hbcuS

Overview of Research Project:

The institutionalization of queer and trans* student inclusion initatives at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) remains a significant challenge for these institutions. Previous research has documented the various ways in which HBCUs have failed to meet the unique needs of their Black queer and trans* student population. Therefore, HBCU stakeholders (e.g., Presidents, Vice Presidents, faculty, staff) will need to take strategic measures to ensure that multiple units on campus share in the responsibility of fostering an inclusive environment for queer and trans* students. Consequently, this research project will seek to provide an organizational and critical analysis of queer and trans* student inclusion initatives at HBCUs.

Namely, Kezar and Eckel’s (2002) Transforamtional Change Process and a Black queer theory framework (Jonhson, 2005; Ferguson, 2004) is applied in this qualitative, multiple case study to investigate and theorize how three HBCU stakeholders work across organizational strucutures to design and implement inclusion initativies that center on the lived experiences of Black queer and trans* students at the HBCUs, respectively. Findings from this study seek to expose how HBCU stakeholders utlize the institutional change strategies of strong support from senior leadership, a collaborative process, longstanding training, and establishment of organizational structures to drive inclusive change. At the conclusion of this research study, reccomendations for future research, theory, practice, and policy will be shared.



The health equity advancements for lgbtq students (h.e.a.l.s.) Project at hbcus

Overview of Research Project:

This project is currently in development. I will share more information as the project is finalized.


scholar identity discovery and development among black men in higher education

Overview of Research Project:

There is a limited amount of scholarship focused on the experiences of Black men in enrolled in graduate programs. Research on Black men's experiences in graduate engineering programs has highlighted the persons and activities that contribute to their overall success as well as the challenges they encounter in pursuit of graduate engineering degrees (e.g., Burt & Johnson, 2018, Burt et al., 2020). While these studies are needed, additional research on how Black men in graduate degree programs discover and develop their scholar identity is equally important to ensuring the overall success of students in this population. Whiting (2006) asserted the scholar identity in Black boys model which argues that one's race, gender, and structural supports (e.g., family, teachers, school administrators) assist in their scholar identity development. Therefore, this autoenthographic study seeks to extend Whiting's (2006) concept by exploring how we as Black men make sense of our scholar identities as a result of either pursuing or having pursued graduate degrees in education.




Overview of Research Project:

Information forthcoming



Other scholarly works

Peer Reviewed Articles:

Burt, B. A., Roberson, J. J., Johnson, J. T., & Bonanno, A. (2020). Black Men in Engineering Graduate Programs: A Theoretical Model of the Motivation to Persist. Teachers College Record, 122(11), n11.

Burt, B.A. & Johnson,J.T.(2018).Origins of STEM interest for Black male graduate students: A community cultural wealth perspective. School Science and Mathematics, 118(6), 257-270.

Book Chapters:

Johnson, J.T., Jones,T (forthcoming) Health Equity Now: Leveraging Critical Consciousness to Shape Health Equity for Black queer and trans* students on Predominately White Campuses. In J. McEderry, S. Hernandez Rivera (Eds.), Developing an Intersectional-Consciousness and Praxis in Antiracist Efforts. Information Age Publishing.

Wallace, J.K., Johnson, J.T., Ford, J.R.(forthcoming) For Us, By Us: Unpacking Research with and for Black Students in Higher Education as Early Career Black Men Faculty. In J. McEderry, S. Hernandez Rivera (Eds.), Developing an Intersectional-Consciousness and Praxis in Antiracist Efforts. Information Age Publishing.

Johnson,J.T. (forthcoming) A Manifesto for Queer and Trans* Student Inclusion at HBCUs. In Johnson, J.M., Mobley, S., Njoku, N., Patton, LD (Eds.), Embracing Queer Students’ Diverse Identities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: A Primer for Presidents, Administrators, and Faculty. Rutgers University Press.

Johnson, J.T. (2021) The category is transformational inclusion: A conceptual framework for (re)imaging the inclusion of Black queer and trans* student attending HBCUs. In G. Crosby, K. White, M. Chanay, A. Hilton (Eds.), Reimaging Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Survival Beyond 2021. Emerald Publishing Limited.