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St. Kate’s names new director of adult learning

Kimberly Johnson, director of adult learning at St. Catherine University.
Kimberly Johnson, director of adult learning at St. Catherine University.
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Kimberly Johnson joins St. Catherine University as the director of Adult Learning, a new position which will be effective with the fall semester.

She will provide leadership on re-visioning and modifying the Evening/Weekend/Online program to strengthen and build on St Kate's long history of outreach to non-traditional learners. In addition, she will be taking on duties that lead to greater understanding of effective adult teaching and learning across the university.

“I hope to serve as a resource for others on campus, and to provide professional development for staff and faculty,” Johnson says. She comes to St. Kate’s from Hamline University in St. Paul, where she was the founder and director of the ABE Teaching and Learning Advancement System (ATLAS), where she led data-driven, outcomes-focused professional development projects for teachers, administrators and staff in Minnesota adult basic education programs. In addition to ATLAS, she served as assistant professor in the Hamline School of Education.

Johnson earned a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction, Second Languages and Cultures, and a master's in English as a Second Language, both from the University of Minnesota, and a bachelor's degree in English, summa cum laude, from the State University of New York at Brockport.

She has published numerous articles on adult learning, as well as chapters in educational texts. She is also the recipient of several grants in the area of adult education. Johnson is on the board of directors of the Association of Adult Literacy Professional Developers, and is co-editor of the Minnesota Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MinneTESOL) Journal.

Johnson also consults on multiple national initiatives funded through the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). Johnson is an approved national trainer and resource reviewer for the Adult Literacy Information and Communication System, and is serving as a subject matter expert for the Networks for Integrating New Americans project, identifying and creating models to facilitate the integration of adult immigrants into communities.

Personal experiences are the foundation for her passion for adult education, beginning with her own experience as non-traditional student. After dropping out of college, she returned as a young mother, working full-time and taking classes at night.

She came to find a career in adult teaching though an unusual path. In the late 1980s, she was living in Berlin during the collapse of the Berlin Wall with her husband, Concordia University history professor Thomas Saylor. The collapse of wall brought a need for English teachers in the former East Berlin. Johnson answered the call and, as she recalls, “taught in a community education room with nothing but a chalkboard, an eraser and a textbook.”

She discovered that she had an affinity for teaching adult learners, which prompted her to eventually return to school for graduate degrees in English as a Second Language and education.

Aug. 19, 2013 by Julie Kendrick

See also: Leadership