Provost, Dean of the Faculty & Professor of Christian Heritage
Rev. Dr. Robert E. (Bob) Johnson, Central Seminary’s Provost and Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Christian Heritage, will retire on July 31, 2023. Dr. Johnson joined the Central community on June 1, 1998 and began as a faculty member in 1999. He was named Academic Dean in 2009 and promoted to Provost in 2015.
As a professor, Dr. Johnson’s dedication to his students and their grounding in historical studies was demonstrated by the depth and breadth of his knowledge and instruction. He sought new and creative ways to engage students and was one of the first professors at Central to utilize technologically enhanced educational methods. Under Dr. Johnson’s leadership as Dean of the Faculty, Central revitalized its mission, and enrollment increased from 120 in 2009 to 532 in the fall of 2022. This success stemmed in part from his vision for distance and virtual delivery of Central’s educational programs. In addition, his diligent leadership and oversight resulted in successful accreditation processes with both the Association of Theological Schools and the Higher Learning Commission.
During his tenure, Dr. Johnson guided the school’s increase in student diversity, expanded its outreach to under-served communities, formed partnerships with Myanmar Institute of Theology, the Judson Communities, and Calvin University in Seoul, South Korea, and created 9 teaching sites across the United States. He led the development of several new programs including the Korean Language Program, the Doctor of Ministry in Creative Leadership degree, the Doctor of Ministry in Missional Church Studies degree, and the Master of Arts in Counseling degree, the curricular revision of the Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theological Studies programs, and two new certificate programs: a Certificate in Chaplaincy (2021) and a Certificate in Peace and Justice Ministry (2022).
“Over the past twenty-five years, Dr. Johnson has made substantial contributions to Central,” said President Pamela R. Durso. “He has actively advanced our unique community of learning into seasons of growth and expansion. His innovative vision has been a gift to Central, pushing us to embrace new and cutting-edge pedagogical approaches and calling us to pay careful attention to the ever-changing needs of our students and the churches and ministries they serve. I am deeply grateful for his faithful service, his wisdom and insight, and his unwavering loyalty to and support of Central Seminary.”
The Central Seminary Board of Directors bestowed upon Dr. Johnson the title of Provost Emeritus at their annual meeting on May 18, 2023.