E. Patrick Johnson Named Communication Dean at Northwestern University

E. Patrick Johnson has been named dean of Northwestern University’s School of Communication, Interim Provost Kathleen Hagerty announced. Johnson, the Carlos Montezuma Professor of African American Studies and Performance Studies at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Communication (SoC), joined Northwestern 20 years ago and has served in several leadership roles over those decades, breaking barriers along the way.

A first-generation college student, Johnson was the first African American from his hometown to receive a doctorate, the first African American to be hired and tenured in the Department of Performance Studies, and the first to be given a named professorship in the School of Communication. He has spent much of his career leveraging those opportunities to invite others to have a seat at the table, and has worked to diversify the faculty through recruitment and mentoring.

“I am truly honored and humbled to be selected as the next dean of the School of Communication. I stand on the shoulders of my grandmother and my mother, neither of whom ever stepped foot on a university campus except to celebrate my graduations and accomplishments, but from whom I learned how to be a committed scholar, artist and advocate for social justice,” Johnson said. “As I step into this new role, I carry their tenacity and determination with me.

“While I understand the symbolism of my being the first African American appointed to this post — and particularly during a global pandemic and persistence of antiblack racism — my focus as dean will be leading with a moral and ethical imperative to make the School of Communication a place where ‘first’ only refers to our ranking in the world.”

“I’m thrilled that E. Patrick Johnson will be our next dean of the School of Communication,” Hagerty said. “Not only is he an outstanding artist, teacher and scholar, he is also deeply committed to ensuring that the students, staff and faculty in the school can continue to excel. He will provide visionary leadership, deep expertise and unwavering support as he champions each member of the SoC community. I am eager to begin working with him to address the many opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”

His appointment as dean will start Aug. 1, 2020. Johnson will be the seventh dean in the school’s history. He also will have the title of Annenberg University Professor.

WittKieffer’s Robin Mamlet and Elizabeth Bohan led this search.

Read the full press release.