Faculty profile: Stafford serves as interim dean

By: Charlotte Cheek ~Staff Writer~

Photo courtesy of Time.com | R. Stafford Johnson serves as interim dean of the Williams College of Business.

Last fall, long-time Xavier professor R. Stafford Johnson was named interim dean of the Williams College of Business.

Johnson has been at Xavier for 33 years and acted as interim dean in 2011 as well. Johnson’s primary focus has been teaching, in which he is still active.

He currently teaches classes on international economics and options and future markets.

Johnson finds teaching worthwhile because of the transformation students make when learning.

“I think it’s getting students at a certain level and feeling about knowledge and getting them up to a higher level that has a little more depth to it,” Johnson said. “It’s not just the teaching, but it’s turning students into appreciating the intellectual aspects. It’s transformative. That’s the thrill you get from teaching. It’s not just making you smarter, it’s seeing you transform.”

In addition to teaching, Johnson has published six books and is working on a seventh.

“My scholarship is my hobby,” Johnson said.

As interim dean, Johnson has made significant changes in the Williams College of Business, but he credits his peers.

“I don’t want to come off as ‘I,’” Johnson said. “I think the college, the chairs and the committee has made progress on developing online education. We still have work to do, but we are moving closer and closer to online education and even on online MBA program.”

According to Johnson, the college has selected finalists for the new dean position and is currently making recommendations to Father Graham.

“We made a good foundation,” Johnson said. “Whoever comes in as the next dean is at a position to move this school.

“Deans come and go. The average tenure of a dean is probably three years. It’s shocking. The dean’s job is tough from the standpoint that you’re constantly putting out fires and you’re on the dark side of the administrative team.”

Aside from working at Xavier, Johnson is a family man. He has three children and five grandchildren.

“They’re everything. That’s what it’s all about,” Johnson said.

In addition to family, Johnson is a former tennis player and enjoys working in his yard.

Johnson stated his best experience was when he ran the student investment fund.

“To work with students on a day-to-day basis really was a labor of love. I’m proud to be a professor first and a dean later,” he said.