Shari Lynn Johnson

Shari Johnson, pronouns she/her/hers & prefers to be called professor shari by students,
is both a social worker and linguistic anthropologist by educational training. She
completed both graduate experiences at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan
where she was born and lived for nearly 50 years.

professor shari’s higher education experience includes nearly two decades of
developing and teaching many undergraduate and graduate social work courses,
primarily in the areas of aging, diversity, race and social justice and Queer studies. Some
of her areas of expertise and research interests include anti-Blackness, politics of race
and sizeism/anti-fatness and pleasure activism. professor shari also developed and
taught cultural anthropology courses and social work continuing education/professional
development workshops at a community college for ten years. For the past five years,
professor shari has spent her summers teaching similar course content for the Smith
College SSW and George Washington University’s LGBTQ health policy summer
residency program. In addition to her teaching experiences, professor shari has held
several positions in faculty development and student affairs.

Prior to her higher education experience, professor shari was an award-winning
community activist and ran a private practice working solely with aging BIPOC
community members, with a specialty in those navigating sexuality and gender

In 2016, professor shari accepted a position at Simmons University in Boston,
Massachusetts as the inaugural faculty lead over the racism course in an online MSW
program. While rewarding, her nearly five years on the east coast were a pivotal time in
her life and career. As an aging QBIPOC woman and a survivor of the current pandemic,
professor shari felt the need to shift her primary teaching energies from a focus on
formal course content to the heart of social work education: field education, also known
as our “signature pedagogy.”

In July 2020, professor shari was called to accept a position as a clinical faculty member
with the University of St. Thomas, located in the Twin Cities of Minnesota; referred to by
many as the epicenter of this country’s current discussions on police reform and
abolition. She also accepted the inaugural joint appointment as the Coordinator for DEI
efforts and initiatives for the Morrison Family College of Health under which the SSW

professor shari lives in the Twin Cities with way too house plants, an African dwarf frog
named Stormy and a growing collection of YA novels featuring magical Black girls,
mermaids, and Afro-futurism. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking & all things Star Trek

Fall 2021 will be professor shari’s first time teaching with the CSSW and she could not be
more excited!