Johns Hopkins Gazette: November 28, 1994

Johnson to Direct Multicultural Student Affairs
By Ken Keatley

Ralph Johnson does not use the term extracurricular to
describe the organized activities of university students.
     "That to me says the activity is an appendage," said Dr.
Johnson, the new director of the Office of Multicultural Student
Affairs and assistant to the dean of Homewood student services.
"I use the term co-curricular, because what these students learn
outside the classroom in many instances parallels what they're
learning in the classroom."
     Whether it's writing for a student newspaper, participating
in an environmental club or singing in a madrigal group,
co-curricular activities are integral in helping students grow
and develop, Dr. Johnson believes. Activities are particularly
important for minority students, who may initially feel isolated
within an unfamiliar culture, he added.
     "Programs like Multicultural Student Affairs are important,
so that we give minority students a sense of belonging and
confidence," Dr. Johnson explained. "The hope is that they will
go on to participate, make their voices heard and make a
difference in the campus community."
     Prior to arriving at Hopkins last month, Dr. Johnson was
assistant director of student life and director of minority
student affairs at the University of South Carolina. He has spent
his 12-year career working in student affairs and is highly
regarded within the field, according to Larry Benedict, dean of
Homewood student services.
     "I'm delighted that we've been able to attract someone with
the credentials of Dr. Johnson," Dr. Benedict said. "An
experienced professional in his field and nationally known in the
student affairs profession, he is going to be a wonderful
addition to our staff and to the Hopkins community."
     At South Carolina, Dr. Johnson developed and implemented a
number of programs and services for the minority student
population. He is especially proud of the Minority Assistance
Peer Program, which paired incoming minority freshmen with
mentoring upperclassmen.
     "The program was very successful," Dr. Johnson said. "The
retention rate of minority students was enhanced, but more
importantly, the quality of life of these students increased
     He also developed a Minority Student Graduate School Fair,
which included workshops that provided information on the
graduate school experience, and Students Educating and Empowering
for Diversity, a series of student-run seminars dealing with
various aspects of diversity.
     Dr. Johnson said he is impressed with the variety of
programs already in place at Hopkins, including special events
that promote diversity and enhance the educational experience for
minorities. The recent Culture Fest is a good example, he said.  
     "I look forward to evaluating the programs at Hopkins--and
adding new programs where appropriate--so that we can continue to
better serve multicultural students here," he said.
     Dr. Johnson is president-elect of the Southern Association
for College Student Affairs, and a member of the National
Association of Student Personnel Administrators.
     His doctoral dissertation, "Factors in the Academic Success
of African-American College Males," garnered him the 1993
Dissertation of the Year Award from SACSA.

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