Bunce Hall
Political Science & Economics
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The Compass: The Newsletter of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences
To download past issues of CHSS newsletters, please visit our publications section.

Dr. Richard J. Johnson (1971-2000),
Professor Emeritus

Dr. Johnson earned all his academic degrees at Columbia College and Columbia University, with his Ph.D. being awarded from that university in 1970. After teaching at Montana State University and the University of Arizona, he joined the Glassboro State (Rowan University) faculty in the fall of 1971.

A specialist in Comparative Political Systems, with specific concentration in Soviet Studies, Dr. Johnson taught courses in Soviet Politics and Foreign Policy as well as the general education comparative political systems course. His interest in the Soviet Union, and his knowledge of the historic Hollybush Conference, led him to undertake a continuation of that historic tie by organizing a three-day conference on Soviet-U.S. Relations in 1972, a two-day conference on the same subject in 1982 and a speaker’ series focusing on change in the USSR in 1907. Each of these brought to Glassboro State/Rowan University some of the most distinguished western experts on the USSR, and by 1987 included Soviet emigre Scholars like Dmitri Simes and Soviet Officials like Sergei Lavrov, then and now the Soviet (later Russian) ambassador to the United Nations. In 1992, the Soviet Union was gone, and Dr. Johnson was the faculty advisor to a student-organized 25th Summit Anniversary Conference on political, economic and social change in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Dr. Johnson (known as “Dr. J”) has contributed articles to the Journal of Police History (arising out of his doctoral research on the Tsarist security police), several articles in the Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, and a chapter in a book on The Police in History. In the context of Soviet Politics, his research focused on Soviet Local Government; and in the post-Soviet period, on center/periphery relationships in the Russian Federation.

At Rowan/Glassboro, Dr. Johnson served as Chairperson of the Political Science Department from 1984 to 1992. He was deeply involved in issues of general education reform and instrumental in the design of an interdisciplinary course, Introduction to the Social Sciences, a section of which he has taught every semester since its inception. He also served on the Liberal Studies Committee and was a strong advocate of the American Studies major as the best background for K-8 education majors.

Within his profession, Dr. Johnson was one of the original founders of the New Jersey Political Science Association, serving on its executive committee for many years, and as an officer in several positions, including President. In 1989, the association honored him with its annual award for Outstanding Contributions to New Jersey Political Science. He has also served two terms on the executive committee of the Northeastern Political Science Association, two terms as panel organizer for comparative politics sections for the NPSA annual meetings, and two terms as Soviet and Eastern Europe Editor of Polity: The Journal of the Northeastern Political Science Association.