Dr. Jim Johnson

Professor of Psychology, Emeritus
Professor of Education, Emeritus

Dr. Jim Johnson joined the PLNU School of Education faculty in 1991, initially coordinating the Special Education program. He retired in 2018 having served as professor for the School of Education and the Department of Psychology teaching undergraduate and graduate education courses in psychology, philosophy/spiritual formation, educational foundations, learning theory, and special education and undergraduate psychology courses in the first year experience program for the Department of Psychology. Dr. Johnson continues to teach part-time teaching for the Department of Psychology and  to speak and share on learning and behavior issues, purpose driven principles for leadership, and Strengths development nationally and internationally.


  • Ed.D., Learning/Behavior Disorders, University of Southern California
  • M.A., Curriculum and Supervision, Pasadena College/Point Loma Nazarene University
  • B.A., English Literature, Physical Education, Pasadena College/Point Loma Nazarene University

Retracing a Hero's Journey - A Tribute to my father

My father's story is part of my story.

In 1941 he went to war and served in the United States Army Air Force. On October 7, 1944 his plane was shot down behind enemy lines and he was missing in action for over 7 weeks. During that 7 weeks my father and his crew walked over 400 miles to safety. They wrote a book about it, Goodbye Liberty Belle, by Jim Merritt.

In October, 2011, I took my dad and two son's and we retraced his steps from that experience - My sons called it Retracing a Heroes Journey.

My father died March 16, 2012 from lung cancer even though he had never smoked at any time in his life.

This is part of my story - it is part of my two son's stories - it is all about my dad's story.

My son begins the video below of that story with these words:

On October 7, 1944, Arthur R. Johnson and the crew of the 'Liberty Belle' were shot down on a bombing mission over Vienna, Austria. Parachuting out over modern-day Croatia, Art and his crew, with the aid of the local Partisans, spent the next 49 days hiking towards the coast in hope of returning to their base in Italy. 67 years later, I boarded a plane with my brother, father, and 88 year old grandfather Art to retrace their heroic journey.

Retracing a Hero's Journey video link (13 minutes)

Courses Taught

  • Advanced Educational Psychology
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Individual and Group Counseling
  • Psychology of Personal Development
  • Educational Measurement and Evaluation
  • Using Technology to Support Student Learning
  • Foundations of Education and Learning Theory
  • Foundations of Special Education
  • Special Education School Law

Experience in Field

  • Member, Teacher Education Committee
  • Mentor, Supervising Faculty for Student Honors Project, 2011 – present 
  • Strengths Coaching and Training, implementing campus strengths training and development activities
  • Senior Consultant, Faculty member, Nazarene Strengths Institute supporting Center for Pastoral Leadership in training for churches and pastoral development, Gallup Faith Practice, Engaged Churches
  • Human Trafficking Curriculum Task Force member, San Diego Unified School District/Point Loma Nazarene University project, 2016

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Chair, Host Town San Diego Point Loma Leadership Team hosting 177 Special Olympics Athletes from Albania, Burkina Faso, and Finland as a part of the World Games LA15
  • Chair,  Point Loma Leadership Team hosting San Diego Special Olympics Regional Track Meet 1992 – present
  • Guest Speaker, Strengths and Life Purpose National Webinar Broadcast, Strengths Advisor Inner Circle, Brent O’Bannon, StrengthsFinder Coaching
  • Chair, Point Loma Leadership Team hosting DS Action Annual Easter Egg Hunt
  • Certified Coach, Educator, Mentor/Advisor for Gallup Corporation in their strengths-based initiatives in higher education, faith organizations and churches, business; coaching and training in Living your Strengths, Strengths Based Leadership and the Engaged Church initiatives, and a faith advisor and consultant for the Nazarene Strengths Institute

Awards and Honors

  • Point Loma Nazarene University Vredevoe Award, given for Outstanding Contribution to Education by PLNU School of Education and Education Associates, May 2016
  • Invited and Named to the International Editorial Board, Journal of Social Pedagogy | Social Education, 2015
  • Recipient, Point Loma Nazarene University Lighthouse Award, given to School of Education Faculty for notable contribution to the field, San Diego, CA; May 2014
  • Named one of the national top 20 Strengths Educators and appointed to the national Strengths Advisory Panel, by Gallup Education Practice, July 2010

Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications

  • Visiting Professor, Guest lecture series on Brain-Based Teaching and Learning, Executive Functioning, and Positive Psychology, presented to doctoral program students and faculty, Research Centre of the Faculty of Humanities, Tomas Bata University, Zlín, Czech Republic, 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, MI; September 2014
  • Presented on other research in conference sessions with PLNU Honors students 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
  • Selected one of the keynote speakers: Mediating Self-Awareness of Learning Differences and Strengths in Children with ADHD – Towards Developing a Model for Effective Student Centered, Strengths-Based ADHD Intervention Effecting Self Awareness, Self Efficacy, and Self Advocacy, International Conference on Comparative and Multidisciplinary Studies in Social and Human Sciences, London, England; September 2014
  • "Connecting with 21st Century Learners Using Technologies for Enhancing Critical-Thinking Skills and Learning,” 2010 International Conference on Special Education, Kyrenia, Cyprus; March 2010
  • Cross-Cultural Aspects of Proactive Coping Behavior, Subjective Well-Being, Social Support, and Depression, Mgr. Jitka Vaculíková, Ph.D., Research Centre of the Faculty of Humanities, Bata University, Czech Republic and Daniel Flint, PLNU