Shelley Johnson is Named as New Dean of School of Health Professions

By Zoe DeFazio, Web Editor

Shelley Johnson, Ed.D, is the newly appointed dean of Manhattan College’s school of Health Professions. 

Johnson earned her doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Phoenix. She also holds a Master of Science degree in community health nursing from Pennsylvania State University, a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

After living in Florida for several years, Johnson decided to search for job opportunities in the Northeast, where she considers home.

“I saw that they [Manhattan College] were looking for someone to be the first dean and truly build out their healthcare programs,” Johnson said. “So I did apply. And I do feel very fortunate and humbled to have been selected to be the dean.” 

Johnson was surrounded by health care workers for the majority of her upbringing, as most of her family worked in the field. 

Johnson’s experience working in higher education spans nearly two decades. Throughout her career, she has worked on building and revitalizing health care programs to meet the ever-evolving demands of the workforce. 

Johnson recently worked for Florida A&M University, starting during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when the university’s passing rate fell to 60 percent. In light of this, Johnson designed programs for students with complex lives as working adults.

“You need about 80 percent [passing rate] to keep the doors open,” Johnson said. “So I enjoy working with institutions like that that have a need…I’m willing to go to help.” 

As the new dean of the School of Health Professions, Johnson envisions promoting interdisciplinary programs that emphasize diversity not only in terms of race but also in backgrounds, abilities and perspectives. 

She encourages students to explore the multitude of career paths within the healthcare industry, emphasizing the importance of early exposure to the various options in the industry so students can make informed choices in their career path.

Christie González-Toro, professor of kinesiology, shared in an email to The Quadrangle her enthusiasm towards this new chapter for the School of Health Professions.

“I am excited for Dr. Shelley Johnson’s leadership, energy, and knowledge to lead the new School of Health Professions,” González-Toro wrote. “The department of kinesiology looks forward to working with Dr. Johnson to continue to thrive.”

Jeff Cherubini, professor of kinesiology at Manhattan College, has welcomed Johnson with open arms and is looking forward to seeing her create change within the college.

“I am happy to have Dean Johnson join our Lasallian team and am very much looking forward to supporting her and the growth and success of the School of Health Professions,” Cherubini wrote in an email to The Quadrangle. “Her experience, leadership, organization and administration skills all fit well with the goals and objectives of kinesiology.  A win-win for all involved – now and in the future!”

As Johnson transitions into the MC community, she advises students to stay motivated and not lose sight of what they can achieve. Johnson stresses the importance of not having any regrets.

“Time goes by and everything is hard until you learn how to do it,” Johnson said. “If you really want something, you have to be willing to put in the hard work to get it done. I hope that people see me and think ‘she’s doing it, she has had to work through all of these things, and she’s still getting it done’,” Johnson said.