Jim Johnson

  • Professor, School of Education and Department of Psychology
  • Cross-Disciplinary Studies program, Main Campus
  • Graduate Program, Mission Valley Regional Center
  • Phone: 619-849-2990 Evans Hall


  • Ed.D. University of Southern California
  • M.A. Pasadena College/Point Loma Nazarene University
  • Strengths Signature Themes: Relator | Maximizer |
  • Individualization | Learner | Strategic


Dr. Johnson joined the PLNU School of Education faculty in 1991 initially coordinating the Special Education program and currently serves as Professor for the School of Education in San Diego teaching courses in Psychology, Philosophy/Spiritual Formation,  Educational Foundations, Learning Theory, and Special Education.   Dr. Johnson also teaches an undergraduate psycholgy course in the first year experience program.

1978 - 1991        Adjunct, Department of Special Services,  California State University, Sacramento

1984                   Lecturer, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California

1979 - 1980       Adjunct, Teacher Education, Point Loma Nazarene College, Pasadena Campus

1977 - 1978       Adjunct, Teacher Education, University of Southern California

 1970-1991        Teacher, administrator, State Consultant in California public schools for over 20 years with educational experience at the local school, district, county, state, and national levels

Faculty Responsibilities include/have included:

  • Member of  Faculty Academic Policy Committee
  • Member Faculty appointed Task force on Distance Learning
  • Member Provost Apponted Committee on Hybrid and Online Learning Policies and Procedures
  • Member Dean Appointed Committee on Proprietary Rights
  • Chair, University Ad Hoc Strengths Committee
  • Member, Teacher Education Committee
  • Resource/Application Evaluator for ITS
  • Member, Technology Committee for the School of Education
  • Mentor, Supervising Faculty for Student Honors Project 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14
  • Strengths Coaching and Training,  implementing campus Strengths training and development activities
  • Consultant, Faculty member, Nazarene Strengths Institute supporting Center for Pastoral Leadership in training for churches and pastoral development, Gallup Faith Practice, Engaged Churches
  • Chair, Host Town San Diego Point Loma Leadership Team responsible for hosting 177 Special Olympics Athletes from Albania, Burkina Faso, and Finland as a part of the World Games LA15


Life Standard Teaching Credential, Elementary

Life Standard Teaching Credential, Secondary

Life Specialist Teaching Credential, Learning Handicapped

Life Specialist Teaching Credential, Severely Handicapped

Life Standard Administrative Credential

Life Standard Supervision Credential

Professional Resume 

Brief Professional Biography

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Dr Johnson's research interests are in the areas of sensory motor integration, effective practices for persons within the Autism Spectrum, TBI, and attentional disorders.  He is currently supervising an Honors Research Project with graduate and undergraduate students on the assessment and use of Strengths development with persons within the Autism Spectrum, neurological disorders or developmental delay.  He also is working with students in his Research-Based Learning course developing an ongoing student research project for studying use of technology for effective  instruction and learning in undergraduate programs.

Presented research in conference sessions with PLNU Honor student collaborating on current research projects: The Effects of Strength Intervention in College-Age Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the topic of Sensory-Motor Integration Issues, International Conference on Comparative and Multidisciplinary Studies in Social and Human Sciences, London, England, September, 2014

Dr. Johnson was appointed in 2011 to serve on the International Advisory Board for the European Journal of Education and Educational Psychology and recently in 2012 to serve on the OPELL  Journal Editorial & International Advisory Board

He is a requested speaker and presenter out of his five research specialty areas:

SpecialtyGallup Strengths-based focused initiatives for higher education, churches or faith-based ministries, professional organizations, and business leaders providing coaching and training for effective living and leading in your Strengths as individuals, teams, and leaders.

Specialtyresearch and effective practices in teaching, training, and serving (1) Emerging Adults (ages 13-19), (2) Emergent Adults (ages 19-25), and (3) 21st Century learners

SpecialtyDevelopment, planning, and training of effective practices for making a difference in life and leadership through (1) Spiritual Formation, (2) Discovering Life Purpose, (3) Identifying Core Values and Beliefs , and (4)  Life Planning through personal training and Executive Coaching

Specialtytechnology and use of computers for communication, teaching, and learning in the Digital Age sharing research projects on Learning Styles and often provides presentations on brain-based teaching and learning, snesory-motor integration differentiation, and working with persons with learning and behavior difficulties

Specialtyworking with persons with learning and behavior problems, difficulty with sensory-motor integration, and issues with attention including individuals within the autism spectrum, persons with Traumatic Brain Injury, and persons utilizing Facilitated/Augmented Communication or those who experience difficulty or inability to communicate verbally.

Research Activities:

 Honors Project 2013-2014, Increasing Hope, Student Engagement, Wellbeing, and Academic Success in Children with ADHD Through Strengths Based Intervention

Honors Project 2011-2013, The Effects of Strengths Inetervention in College-Age Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory-Motor Integration Issues.

Sabbatical Fall, 2008:  A Study of Brain-Based Learning Theory and Neurobiological Development: Implications for Spiritual Development and Instructional and Church Practices for Emerging Adults.  This study has served as the basis of course development and workbook materials for Life Purpose assessment and learning materials.

2000-2006       Developed, implemented and served as co-Director of the University approved Learning Styles Research Project.  A research project in collaboration with the Department of Psychology studying the understanding of learning styles in relation to college student performance.


"The Attitudes and Perceptions of Regular Classroom Teachers on the Integration of Exceptional Children in the Regular Classroom", chair Dr. Robert Rutherford, University of Southern California, 1976


Dr. Johnson is a leader and trainer in Strengths Development efforts working with Gallup Education Practice and Gallup Faith Practice at local, state, and national levels.  He is a Gallup Certified Educator, Advocate, Advisor and Coach for Individuals and Teams, Gallup Corporation.   Dr. Johnson is also a Faculty member and Faith Practice Consultant for the Nazarene Strengths Institute providing training and support services for Engagement and Strengths development to districts, churches, Nazarene universities, pastors and church leaders.

Strengths Signature Themes:   Relator | Maximizer | Individualization | Learner | Strategic


Dr. Johnson is deeply committed to families and friends in the disabled community  providing leadership in hosting the San Diego County Special Olympics Regional Track meet.  He supervises the Special Olympics Student Leadership team in their efforts of organizing the PLNU hosted event.  Next year the PLNU Leadership team celebrating over 25 years of consecutively hosting the event for Special Olympics of Southern California.  Dr. Johnson and a student leadership team also support Down Syndrome Action and the Down Syndrome Center at Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego hosting an annual DS Action Easter Egg Hunt on the PLNU campus. Dr. Johnson was named Chair, Host Town San Diego Point Loma Leadership Team responsible for hosting 177 Special Olympics Athletes from Albania, Burkina Faso, and Finland as a part of the World Games LA15 in July, 2015


Preparing for the 21st Century Church-Ministry with a Purpose - Sabbath and Pastoral Self Care, Michigan District Leadership and Advisory Board Retreat, Indian Lake, Michigan, September, 2014

Provided Strengths Leadership Training for Encuentro, a gathering of Latino church leaders and young people on the PLNU campus from Spanish-language Nazarene churches on the PLNU educational region, January, 2013

Provided ministry to Moscow, Russia Church of the Nazarene conducting Family Camp and providing Strengths Leadership Development seminars for Church leaders, June, 2012.

Named and appointed member Named and appointed Conference Chair of the International Conference on Education and Educational Psychology, Istanbul, Turkey, 2011

Building the Potential Part I: Exploring and, Building the Potential Part II: Building“, Co-presented two seminars with Melissa Burt-Gracik, Gallup Education Practice Strengths Educator Conference, Omaha, Nebraska, June, 2010

Unlocking the Potential: Moving Towards a Team with Strengths, Central California District Strengths Leadership Summit, Porterville, California, March, 2010

Insights and Developments for Autism Spectrum Disorders Implications of Sensory-Motor Integration Issues Related to Attention, Behavior Management, and Social Functioning”, 2010 International Conference on Special Education, Kyrenia, Cyprus, March, 2010

”Connecting with 21st Century Learners Using Technologies for Enhancing Critical-Thinking Skills and Learning”, 2010 International Conference on Special Education, Kyrenia, Cyprus, March, 2010

”A Study of Brain-Based Learning Theory and Neurobiological Development: Implications for Spiritual Formation and Instructional and Church Practices for Emerging Adults”, Faculty Scholarship Day, Point Loma Nazarene University, November, 2009

The Digital Age, Brain-Based Learning, and Spiritual Formation: Implications for 21st Century Learners and Faith-Based Learning”, Association of Christian Schools International Convention, November, 2009, Anaheim, California

Preparing for the 21st Century Church-Ministry with a Purpose”, Arizona District Church of the Nazarene Pastoral and Ministry Leadership Training, March, 2009, Phoenix, Arizona

“Reaching the 21st Century Emergent Adult:  Cross-Cultural Learning Perspectives Intersecting the Church and Academe”, conference presentation, Azusa Pacific University Christians on Diversity in the Academy (CDA annual conference: “Envisioning the Future”, March, 2009, Monrovia, California 

StrengthsQuest Introduction Seminar”, a one-day training seminar for the San Diego City College Counseling Department, October, 2008, San Diego, California

“StrengthsQuest Introduction Session”, presented an introduction workshop on StrengthsQuest to faculty in the Counseling Department of San Diego Community College, September, 2008, San Diego, California

 “Living for a Purpose – Leadership that Makes a Difference”, keynote address for a city celebration on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged, August, 2008, Atibaia, Brazil

 “Philosophy, Beliefs, Core Values, Change and Purpose/Mission”, lecture/seminar given to 200 seminary students and pastors, August, 2008 Campinas, Brazil

 “Living for A Purpose – Thoughts on Spiritual Formation for Leaders that Make a Difference”, presentation/seminar given to pastors and wives across three Nazarene Brazilian church regions and to 200 seminary students during a three-day seminar on Spiritual formation, August, 2008, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Campinas, Brazil

The Basics of Special Education – Tools that Work”,presentation to San Diego County Probation Department officers, May, 2007, San Diego, California