Take 5 with Dr. Zackeus Johnson


Baton Rouge -Zackeus Johnson earned a PhD in higher education from LSU in August 2020. Before coming to LSU, he studied agricultural business management at Alcorn State University.

picture of Dr. JohnsonJohnson is originally from Liberty, Mississippi, and he currently lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he worked as executive director of University College for Southern University and A&M College. As of November 20, Johnson has been named the Dean of the University College--Congratulations Dean Johnson!

He took some time to share his experiences while at LSU and to give some advice and lessons learned.

About Johnson’s Career

Johnson says his journey at Southern University and A&M College (SUBR) began as a graduate assistant within the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, specifically the Office of Student Life and the Office of the Dean of Students. He was hired as an academic advisor and later became the director of an access program, formerly known as the Freshman Academy, now known as the Emerging Jaguars Program. Johnson currently serves as the Dean for the University College (UC), which has a host of focus areas including--but not limited to--first and second year programming, academic advising, assessment, student support services, access programs, mentoring, and so much more. He mentors and serves a diverse population of students, helping them reach their ultimate goal: graduation.

According to Johnson, enrollment management and student success is an amazing division and provides stellar services to ensure the student body engages in quality academic and social opportunities, but most importantly gain skills and competencies that are transferable into any career or discipline.

"LSU and CHSE is a home away from home and provides stellar service to its scholars. There is no other institution or department I would recommend for a PhD in Higher Education. #LSUHigherEdRocks"

Memories from LSU

Johnson made a plethora of memories at Louisiana State University, but cites securing a chair for his dissertation committee as a pivotal moment.

“Dr. Curry was not only my chair, but an angel sent from above. She guided, directed, supported and encouraged me, but most importantly, she executed my entire process with honesty, pride, dignity and respect.”

Career Preparation

According to Johnson, the College of Human Sciences & Education prepared him educationally, but most importantly, it provided him with a group of professional and well-educated colleagues. He participated in the Saturday writing course with Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, PhD who assisted him in the completion of his dissertation. Johnson recalls Saturday as the only day he had time to write due to a demanding work schedule: mentoring activities with 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge, Liberty Missionary Baptist Church, and Southern University Student Life.

“The course taught me to think extensively to promote better thinking and ‘How To Write A Lot,’” he said.

Advice to Current Students

Johnson’s advice to current and future PhD scholars within the College of Human Sciences & Education is to KEEP GOING and NEVER GIVE UP! There are staff and professional faculty who are willing and devoted to assisting you in reaching the ultimate goal. He reminds students to always take breaks, ask questions, and believe in yourself. Internal motivation produces results!

“If I, an African American male, first-generation doctoral student, raised in a single parent household, in a quaint town, can do it, so can you.”

Closing Thoughts

“I would like to give a huge shout out to God, my ‘circle of influence,’ Roland Mitchell, PhD, Jennifer Curry, PhD, Petra Robinson, PhD, Kerri Tobin, PhD, Mark Schafer, PhD, and Ashley Clayton, PhD” Johnson said. “Each administrator/faculty member mentioned played a vital role in my success. They shared such an unforgettable experience. I am forever grateful for their commitment to my committee and their expertise in college access.”