JOHNSON CITY (July 22, 2019) – The American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) has recognized Dr. Keith Johnson for almost two decades of visionary leadership in engineering technology education at East Tennessee State University.
Since being named chair of the Department of Engineering, Engineering Technology and Surveying in the College of Business and Technology, Johnson has established five new academic programs, including three graduate concentrations; developed curricula; and led faculty and student growth.
Johnson accepted the 2019 Fredrick J. Berger Award, consisting of an honorarium, engraved medal and plaque, at the ASEE Conference and Exposition in June. The award’s namesake, Fredrick J. Berger, was acclaimed for his noteworthy contributions to engineering technology education, including his many years of service to City University of New York and as the longtime executive director and sponsor of Tau Alpha Pi, the professional honor society for engineering technology founded in 1953.
The opportunity to establish and grow new technology-based programming drew Johnson to ETSU after completing his Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. He joined the ETSU faculty in 1993 and helped start the Digital Media program in 2000. Johnson said his earliest days on campus were spent writing and installing architectural design programs for mainframe computers and recalls the hours and days it took to render one image on the screen, an action that takes only seconds now.
“I’ve enjoyed every stage of my experience at ETSU, including the people I work with and especially the students,” Johnson said. “Students of color depend on me to be a role model for them. It is a huge responsibility to look after them, but I have built strong relationships along the way and enjoy seeing them through to graduation.”
Johnson has continued to serve as a mentor for students while actively publishing articles and book chapters, writing successful grants and serving the community. He oversees a department with more than 800 students offering four bachelor’s degrees and a master of science in technology, as well as cohort programs with community college partners at Pellissippi State and Walters State community colleges.
Johnson was a Maxine Smith Fellow with the Tennessee Board of Regents and earlier
this year was named special assistant to the president for equity and inclusion to
develop the strategic plan on diversity and inclusion at ETSU.