Dr. Larry D. Johnson, Jr. is an equity-minded student advocate with nearly 20 years of higher education experience. Selected by the CUNY Board of Trustees on February 1, 2021, to be the College’s second president, he assumed the presidency on July 1, 2021.
Johnson is a bold, creative, and experienced academic leader. In July 2018, he was appointed the sixth president of Phoenix College (a Maricopa Community College) and the first African-American in its 100-year history. The college served more than 20,000 credit and non-credit students. As President, he launched the President’s Promise, a comprehensive plan to reengage community and workforce leaders; improve employee satisfaction and engagement; implement best practices that will lead to an increase in student retention, completion, and transfer; and cultivate an environment that embraces diverse perspectives. Under Johnson’s leadership, Phoenix College increased enrollment by establishing the Neighborhood College, a partnership with the City of Phoenix that provides incumbent workers onsite educational opportunities that lead to associate degrees. The College has also received approximately $5M from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a Title V Department of Education (DOE) grant to support initiatives that center on experiential learning programs and undergraduate research in STEM.
Johnson began his teaching career at Tallahassee Community College (2005-2007) where he taught developmental English and reading. During the period from 2007-2014, Johnson served as a humanities instructor and division chair at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. Under his leadership, the college increased student success by implementing developmental education redesign programs, which was supported by a $2.5M Title III Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) grant from the Department of Education. Additionally, Johnson led the department in creating an inaugural conference that centered on pedagogical and high impact practices for faculty, staff, and administrators to increase student persistence and success in Gatekeeper math and English courses.
In addition to serving as faculty and chair, Johnson served as Associate Dean for English and Journalism at Broward College (2014-2016). During his tenure, the department implemented a first-ever festival entitled: “Music, Film, Literature, Art.” He also championed innovative strategies that increased student success in Gatekeeper English courses. As Broward was an Achieving the Dream (ATD) Leader College, Johnson contributed strategies that increased access and success for men of color. After service to Broward College, Johnson was tapped to serve as Campus Provost & Chief Academic Officer (2016-2018) at St. Louis Community College Forest-Park campus. His most noteworthy accomplishment was the development of Social Justice Week, Early College Academies, and overseeing the construction of the $41M Center for Healthcare Excellence.
Dr. Johnson is committed to amplifying the mission of community colleges, as represented by his participation on local and national boards and commissions. Johnson is one of 25 Fellows selected for the inaugural College Excellence Program, sponsored by the Aspen Institute. Additionally, he recently completed a three-year appointment on the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Commission on College Readiness. On July 1, 2021, he was appointed to serve a three-year term as a representative for the Northern Region to the Presidents Academy Executive Committee (PAEC) of the AACC. Johnson is continuing his service on the board of the Phoenix Symphony.
Dr. Johnson is a proud alumnus of a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). He attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), where he earned his BA in English literature. He earned his MA in Humanities and a graduate certificate from Florida State University. Johnson holds a doctorate degree in Humanities, with an emphasis in English literature, from Clark Atlanta University.