New physical, academic goals of Johnson University announced

KNOXVILLE – Rumors finally were laid to rest during Tuesday’s chapel by a campus forum led by President Gary Weedman, Cliff McCartney, and Dr. Tommy Smith.  The discussion included Johnson’s strategic growth plan, enrollment, and the change of the physical appearance and facilities.

President Weedman began the forum with an a discussion of “Strategic Planning for Accreditation.” This strategic plan will include 8 different areas that have been set in place by months of planning and many committee meetings. These areas include marketing strategy, institutional process alignment, academic and enrollment growth, institutional currency, physical and facilities growth plan, management of regulation, donor focus and cultural competency.

Dr. Smith addressed Johnson’s projection of enrollment for future years. By the year 2020, the Tennessee campus’s enrollment goal is approximately 1,105 students, and Florida’s goal is 385 students.

Another part of this plan is the ExtendEd portion of Johnson University. This would include residencies in Phoenix, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Knoxville. For example, a satellite campus in Indianapolis at Indian Creek Christian Church would allow a commuter-based student body for adult students.

More academic programs will be coming to Johnson University with new possible programs including business administration, journalism (already launched), music education, a cooperative law program where a student can take three years at Johnson followed by three years in law school, R.N. to B.S.M., education specialist, and BS in social work.  Programs put into place in the last 5 years represent 25% of current graduates.

Finally, President Weedman showed students tentative plans for new buildings on campus. This process will start with “revitalizing the hill, chapel and auditorium, housing, [and] student life center.”

Revitalizing the hill would likely include demolition of Alumni Memorial Chapel, Bell Hall and the old gymnasium. To replace the buildings being demolished would be more classroom space and and a performance hall. The new building on the current sports area will include a student life center with a gym, pool, fitness rooms and student leisure areas. T

A third building project includes a 1,080 seat remodel of the current gym in the PW Building. This would be the new meeting place for chapel and other events on campus.  There is some ongoing discussion as to if Johnson should abandon this plan in need for a stand-alone traditional chapel.

All of the plans are still pending, yet being pursued  by Johnson administration.



5 Replies to “New physical, academic goals of Johnson University announced”

  1. It’s about time for new buildings and adding the other majors. I hope that the new programs will continue to honor the traditions set out by Ashley and Emma Johnson. We do not need to become like the countless Christian schools who’ve lost their identity and original purpose.

    I would strongly urge the administration to not demolish the Alumni Chapel. It is as much a landmark of the university as PW or Old Main, and not to mention that it was built by students.

    In some ways the Alumni Chapel acts as a physical repensentation of the purpose of JBC, whereas recent projects, like the ‘marble gazebo’ near the PW pond, seem to support the schools vanity. I am certain that many alumni share a sentimental spot for the AC. Many were married and shared their first sermons there. I understand the university’s desire to grow but not at the cost of its identity and heritage.

    As an alumni, Class of 2010, this disappoints me greatly. I hope others will voice their concerns and reject this singular part of the proposal.

    1. Rest assured that there are reasons behind the potential removal of the chapel beyond a simple disregard for the ethos of the University. The article didn’t touch on the issues related to the chapel’s structural foundation, mold, and more that have gone into the administrations’ consideration of taking this drastic step. It is the last thing anyone wants but appears to be the only decision that makes practical sense going forward. Johnson’s historical identity is still intact.

  2. I’m encouraged by the plans laid out in this proposal. It seems rather foolish to keep around old buildings simply because they are old. Those older buildings are becoming decrepit and are falling apart. Also, i have spoken with students who have chosen other schools for worship and music programs because of the state of AMC. To keep attracting new students, updating the campus will always be an ongoing project. The gym and AMC were a crucial part of Johnson’s history and will continue to be that way as Johnson has honored other historical cites that no longer are present on campus. The mission of the Kingdom is bigger than heritage, it is bigger than buildings. Change is never easy, but in this case, I do believe it is necessary.

    I do like the idea of renovating the gym area of PW building to become a full auditorium. It seems like a good use of the space if there is going to be an athletic complex built on the sports field.

    I will be happy to support Johnson in its endeavors.

  3. I’m still pretty upset that the dairy barn was replaced by the Phillips−Welshimer Building. #DixieHolsteinHerd

  4. I’m still pretty upset the dairy barn was replaced by the Phillips−Welshimer Building. #DixieHolsteinHerd

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