Faculty Profile: Doug Johnson

“I’m a little odd and I really love what I do,” Professor Doug Johnson said, leaning back in his chair with a huge grin on his face.An Associate Professor in the Psychology Department, Johnson has been a crucial part of the Colgate campus since 1996.Born and raised in Iowa City, Iowa, Johnson went to college knowing the he “didn’t want to be in Iowa.” He found himself at Washington University in St. Louis. “[It was] still in the mid-west,” he was quick to point out.”Part of the reason I’m here is because of what happened to me there,” Johnson said. After taking an Introduction to Psychology course with “a very charismatic professor from Long Island,” he knew he wanted to continue in the field.Graduating from Washington University in 1987, Johnson continued his studies at Johns Hopkins University, earning a Masters degree in 1990 and a PhD in 1992.”[At Johns Hopkins University], I got to research and think and hang out with others who think,” Johnson said. In addition, Johnson discovered his passion for teaching after leading several classes at the university.”I wanted to be someplace where I could research and teach,” Johnson said. “Colgate was exactly what I was looking for. There is enough time for scholarship and teaching.”Johnson met his wife while studying at Johns Hopkins University. She, too, has a PhD in Psychology, in addition to a law degree. They decided to stay in the Washington, D.C. area for a few years while she established her career.Prior to joining the Colgate faculty, Johnson completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institute of Health in Bethesda Maryland.Ironically, while living in D.C., Johnson came across the job at a conference in San Francisco. A fellow Johns Hopkins graduate ran the lab and offered Johnson the position.”[The NIH] was an interesting place,” Johnson said. “You go and just do research. But it hit harder not being able to teach.”Still, Colgate has been an incredible fit for Johnson.

“The Colgate administration does an excellent job of giving the faculty resources,” Johnson said. “The only issue we have is time – there’s not enough to do everything you want.”In addition to balancing his research and course load, Johnson also sits on the student conduct board and serves as Chair of the Scientific Perspectives Program and is the faculty representative to the NCAA.”The hardest thing to do around here is say to ‘no’ to stuff,” Johnson said.Johnson’s roles do not end there. He and his wife, Molly, who also currently works in the psychology department as a lecturer, live with their two children in Hamilton.”[Having kids is] probably the most awesome thing I’ve experienced,” Johnson, who is the father of a six-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, said. Additionally, Johnson is a volunteer EMT, riding an ambulance to emergencies around the area. He also bikes in his spare time.”I love Hamilton,” he said. “I’m a simple guy. You can bike for miles and not see another human.”Johnson’s flair and charisma are contagious.”I’m very enthusiastic about what I do,” he said. “I’m privileged to have this as my job.”