Category: Academics


Campus life very different for nontraditional students

KNOXVILLE — For traditional Johnson students, dorm life, late-night runs to Taco Bell and curfews are just part of college life. But for many Johnson students, full-time jobs, raising children and living on their own is a very different reality.

Nontraditional living at JU gives married and single students who are older than 23 the opportunity to live in duplexes, trailers or townhouses on campus.

Rachel Hampson, who is a nontraditional student, said that transitioning from the dorm to nontraditional housing has included a dramatic shift in responsibility.

“You have to pay for your electricity, budget for groceries and know how to cook, which I didn’t know how to do before,” she said. “We all get to learn these things which are relatively new to some of us.

“But you get to learn them in a safe area and in a great community where you are still cared for,” she added.

Kristina Watson, who is a married nontraditional student, said there are pros  and cons to the responsibility and challenges associated with being a nontraditional student.

“The hardest part is that kids in the dorms don’t have as many responsibilities,” Watson said, “Whereas we have both tried to work full-time and we both have to go to school.”

Not having a curfew is something that nontraditional students agree is a luxury that they enjoy.

“It is nice not having the frustration of dealing with the security guards if we come in after curfew,” Hampson said.

Faith Edwards, a married nontraditional student, said that being able to eat at home instead of having to have a meal plan is another positive aspect about nontraditional living.

However, many nontraditional students believe that they do not have the same opportunities to socialize on campus.

“I miss having that sort of sisterhood that you have because you build relationships with your hall,” Hampson said. “I miss hall outings and late night runs to Sonic.”

Kristina Watson’s husband Cody also said there are aspects of dorm life he misses.

“When I lived in the dorms it was nice just having the open door policy where you can walk down the hall and stop in someone’s room for homework help,” Cody Watson said. “Here, that isn’t the case because everyone likes their privacy.”

Nontraditional students sometime feel a sense of separation that traditional dorm life may help to overcome.

“Going to classes on the first day is daunting because you don’t know anyone,” Hampson said. “Nontraditional students don’t interact with their neighbors very much and you don’t build relationships the same way.”

Edwards agreed.

“I don’t feel like I see a lot of people” Edwards said. “Unless you’re really intentional about it, you lose connections.”

Hampton said that socializing for nontraditional students is more of a challenge.

“[Its] hard because you have to put so much extra effort into it, and be purposeful in your relationships,” Hampson said. “It is really easy to seclude yourself.”

Cody and Kristina Watson agreed that there is a need for nontraditional students to do more as a community.

“Something as simple as every month in the summer everyone gets together for a barbecue would be nice,” Cody Watson said.

“It would be nice to have get-togethers over breaks because any other time we are just go, go, go” Kristina Watson said. “But, on breaks, nontraditional students are the only ones on campus.”

Hampson said that it would be nice to have regular social events and activities geared towards families. She said that oftentimes campus events go unnoticed by nontraditional students due to a lack of communication.

“A lot of times I feel like we miss out on a lot of the announcements because they post it in the dorms and talk about it in the dorms,” Hampson said. “I wish we could find a way to communicate better because we often miss events on campus since we don’t live in the central core of Johnson.”

While the students agreed that improvements could be made, Edwards said that nontraditional students also enjoy the privacy, peace and quiet outside of the dorms.

“The dorms are a lot more hectic and loud all the time,” Edwards said. “It is nice to come home and be able to sit in the quiet and do homework.”

“Living in the dorms, I really struggled not being able to be on my own sleep schedule,” Hampson said. “I love having my own space, my own schedule where I have absolute quiet.”



JUTN sees small uptick in enrollment for spring 2017

KNOXVILLE — The Johnson University Tennessee campus undergraduate population has increased by 23 students for the spring semester of 2017.

Admission officials are delighted with the new students, but would have like to have seen a higher enrollment.

This is the second semester that has seen a lower new student enrollment.

Twenty-four new students enrolled in Johnson spring of 2016 which is consistent with the current year.

Julee Shultz, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, said 30 to 40 students typically enroll and begin attending in spring semesters.

Shultz said there has been a national downturn in college attendance everywhere.

“College enrollment in general has been decreasing,” Shultz said.

Most of the 23 new students are transfers with a few being freshman.

Two incoming transfers are Olivia Smith and Haven McCoy. Smith transferred from Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville and is a Human Services major and McCoy transferred from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and is a Music Education major.

They both said they enjoy Johnson because of the community that Johnson provides.

JUTN is continuing to send out recruitment teams in an effort to increase enrollment and raise awareness.

“We are looking good for next fall,” Shultz said. “Our recruitment efforts have increased our applications and increased our accepted students for next fall so we can raise our number from last fall.”


EBSCO equips students,faculty with access to hundreds of academic collections

Before the spring semester, the Glass Memorial library released EBSCO, a resourceful online reference tool to make the task of research easier for students and faculty.

EBSCO equips students and faculty with the necessary tools to access quality resources from a variety of reliable content providers and databases.

The EBSCOhost e-book academic collection features over 120,000 titles that are available to assist in research. Other features of EBSCOhost include:  web access, mobile access, discovery service, publication finder and severalg.

In addition to EBSCO, Johnson library director, Carrie Beth Lowe mentioned that the library’s staff is available to assist students with their research.

“EBSCO is a good place to start if you don’t know what database to use,” she said. ” You can also always ask us for help and we will point you in the right direction for your research.”

Although EBSCOhost provides sources from numerous databases, it does not include all of them. The ProQuest database and features of the ATLA religion database are not included in EBSCO search results. ATLA provides an index to religious periodical literature and provides access to leading theology and religion journals.Lowe notes to keep this in mind when researching.

“There are some special features that the ATLA religion database offer such as a scripture index that will not be searched through EBSCO, “she said. “It is best to go to the ATLA database for more in depth searches dealing with scripture.”

Resources included in the library catalog may not show up on EBSCO so it is best to check both for the latest information on available books and resources.

There are links and tutorials on the Glass Memorail website that will




JU offers students the latest educational technology

KNOXVILLE — The Templar School of Education provides all students the opportunity to use a technology space in the Teacher Education Resource Center featuring 3D printers.

The space holds robotics, three 3D printers and twelve different robots for teaching elementary through middle school students.

Director of International Education and Educational Technology, Dr. Chris Templar, spoke on the upgraded technology.

“Schools are adding these Makerspaces to their libraries and to their classrooms. We train teachers for schools so we have to keep up to date,” she said.


Students played with robotics in a campus trial run (Photo/Clyde Timbs)

Templay said that the 3D printers give educators a unique teaching method for young students.

“Teachers can have the children make things that go along with what they’re learning,” she said. “By the time they get to middle school they can make quite sophisticated things. They use them fairly extensively in the classrooms.”

Templar said the technology is becoming more and more accessible.

“3D printers are going down in price tremendously,” she said. “The first one we bought was $3000, the last one we bought was $250.”

Templar’s Teach Assistant, Donna Babb, said she can teach any student the Tinkercad software to use the printers.

“Tinkercad is a free program where they can go online in their room and build an object and then we can put it on an SD card and print it off for them,” she said. “The printing is ten cents per gram.”


A 3D printed pencil holder like this takes three and a half hours to print

The 3D printing machines work by heating strands of filament until they melt and reconstructing the fluid in the form of the design.

“It’s really easy and its fun. They can do a lot of things with it, especially with teaching how to graph and teaching mathematics,” Babb said.

Templar said that the education department works hard to continue affording students the opportunity to work with the latest technology.

“We spend time every year, Dr. Krug and I, going through every class and asking what is no longer state-of-the-art and what is state-of-the-art that we need to put in,” she said.

Templar said that, in addition to 3D printing, there are many other areas of technology they are excited to be involved in.

“We’re doing Virtual reality, we’re doing Augmented reality, we’re doing app development for cell phones. We’ve even been flying drones around indoors,” she said.

Templar said that regularly updating technology is necessary for the school to be able to add new programs. The department is hoping to offer a Doctor of Education in Educational Technology degree beginning next year.

Templar will be speaking on robots and early education at the Future of Educational Technology conference in Orlando, Florida at the end of January.

To begin learning Tinkercad software to design your own 3D prints visit here.


JUTN ranks high among financially fit colleges

KNOXVILLE —Johnson University has received an “A” in the 2016 Forbes College Financial Grades, ranking 3rd on the Christian Colleges and Universities Financial Strength list.

Forbes lists Johnson’s financial GPA as being 4.132 on a 4.5 scale.

This scale measures the fiscal soundness of more than 900 four-year, private, not-for-profit schools with at least 500 students.

According to Forbes,the grade measures financial fitness as determined by nine components broken into three categories.

Forbes staff writer, Matt Schifrin, mentioned the nine variables used to determine balance sheet and operational strength:

  1.         Endowment Assets Per FTE (15%) Year-end endowment assets divided by the number of 12 month full-time equivalent students.
  2.         Primary Reserve Ratio (15%)How well a college’s expendable assets cover its annual expenses.
  3.         Viability Ratio (10%)The amount of expendable assets a college has relative to its debt load.
  4.         Core Operating Margin (10%)How well a college meets its obligations (such as instructional expenses and students services) from the tuition, grants, gifts, and investment revenue it receives.
  5.         Tuition As A Percentage of Core Revs (15%)How dependent a college is on tuition for core revenues.
  6.         Return On Assets (10%)Whether a college’s assets are actually growing.
  7.         Admission Yield (10%)The percentage of admitted students who actually choose to attend a particular college.
  8.         Percent Freshman Getting Institutional Grants (7.5%)The percentage of students actually getting institutional grants or rebates from colleges to attract enrollment.
  9.         Instruction Expenses Per FTE (7.5%) How much money a particular college devotes to the core mission of higher education.

In addition to the Forbes ranking, the Chronicle of Higher Education released data on costs at colleges and universities from 1998-99 through 2016-17.

Among other private four-year institutions in the state of Tennessee for 2016-17, Johnson ranked 3rd lowest in cost among those who offer room and board.

Tuition/Total Costs 2016
 Johnson University = $13,950/ $19,770

View the lists in the links below:

 Forbes 2016 Financial Grades

Tuition and Fees, 1998-99 Through 2016-17



JUTN hosts 2016 Chinese Character Recognition Contest

KNOXVILLE- On the 29th of Oct. Middle-Eastern Tennessee High School students converged at Johnson for the 2016 Chinese Character Recognition Contest.

The purpose of the contest is to foster the interest in Mandarin Chinese, encourage a sense of achievement in learning the language, and enhance ability in Chinese script writing among high school students.

The contest was open to all high school students who have learned Chinese for one year or more.Several area schools participated in the contest this year, with a total of 48 participants.

The contest involved individual and team efforts, and also featured a speech competition. Cash prizes and Johnson University scholarships were awarded to the contest winners.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Dr. Hugh Ross to speak on faith and science

KNOXVILLE – On Oct. 12, Dr. Hugh Ross, President and Founder of Reasons to Believe, will be on JUTN’s campus speaking on science, faith, and controversial questions of origin.

Dr. Ross will speak in the PW gym at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

This meeting will count towards students’ group chapel attendance.

Dr. Ross will also be available from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Private Dining Room of the Gally Commons for an informal Q&A.

Students and faculty are also invited to attend the chapter meeting for Reasons to Believe in PW 213 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m on Wednesday.

Reason to Believe is an organization dedicated to scientific research. They posit in their mission that reason should, “consistently support, rather than erode, confidence in the truth of the Bible and faith in the personal, transcendent God revealed in both Scripture and nature.”

To learn more about Dr. Ross and Reasons to Believe visit their website here.


What JU students should know about the changes in FAFSA

KNOXVILLE – Students on Johnson’s campus may have seen fliers or read announcements recently telling of changes in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2017-18 year.

FAFSA has announced that this year students will be able to file for aid beginning on October 1st, three months earlier than in prior years.

Students will also for the first time be able to file prior-prior year (PPY) tax information when reporting personal and family income.

JUTN Financial Aid Counselor, Jenna Cook, explained the reasoning behind the changes.

“Normally you use the tax information from the current year, so when you complete your FAFSA most of the time your taxes aren’t completed. You would put ‘will file’ in the tax section and then you can’t be awarded aid until that section is updated,” she said “So you would have to go back into the FAFSA and change it, which most students don’t remember to do.”

Thus, in an effort to simplify, FAFSA will accept already completed 2015 tax forms.

Cook noted that this will be helpful for students in that it will make the tax section of the form a one-step process.

“For students who are selected for verification its also beneficial because half of that process is already done since they’ve used the tool. It just makes it faster for everyone,” she said.

“And the fact that its open earlier gives students more time to manage their finances before the 2017-18 year starts. So they beat all of the rush of the last minute applications and verification process. They can come to school with already in mind what their aid is.”

Although the changes will be helpful for most, some students could face complications, which Johnson’s Financial Aid staff is prepared for.

“If there has been a dramatic loss of income, and that’s a scenario that’s probably going to come up a lot, we are doing special circumstance appeals for those students and reevaluate their situation,” she said “So those people are not necessarily out of luck if something has changed dramatically.”

For more information on JU financial aid visit their webpage.

Financial Aid encourages students to take advantage of these changes and begin filing a FAFSA here.


JUTN introduces new first-generation program

KNOXVILLE – The First-Generation College Student program has kicked off its first year at Johnson University. This program will connect first-generation freshmen to first-generation upperclassmen and faculty.

A first-generation student is defined as a student whose parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have not completed a bachelor’s degree. Students that are classified as first-generation are the first in their family to attend a four-year college with the purpose of attaining a bachelor’s degree.

The new program will offer social activities, workshops, and resources to assist students. Workshops will focus on career planning, financial aid information, scholarships, guilt and many other topics based on student preferences.

Johnson has roughly 120 first-generation students.  So far 15 students have attended the first meeting for the program.

Director of Academic Support, Kelly Estes sees the program as being beneficial to all first generation students that attend Johnson University.

“As the Director of Academic Support, I felt students would benefit from a program that would provide mentors, workshops and other resources to assist them in being successful at Johnson,” she said.

The program will serve to encourage first generation students and offer them opportunities and personal experiences that they may not have otherwise received. Each freshman will have mentors to encourage and assist them in college life and challenges.

Some goals for the program include the development of scholarships for first-generation students and a transportation system to assist students with accessibility to organizations to obtain SALT hours and access to internships.

At the first official meeting 1st G.E.A.R was decided as the official name for the program, standing for First Generation Educated and Ready.

“We want to encourage students to get involved with this wonderful opportunity to connect and develop skills to assist them in their journey at Johnson and for their future,” Estes said.

Students are encouraged to attend the monthly meetings. The next meeting will be Oct 31 at 5:30 p.m. in the EAC Student Center. The meeting will be a board game night with refreshments and all first-generation students are encouraged to come.

For further information, students may contact Kelly Estes at or call 865-251-2426.



JUTN welcomes Rachel Nawrocki

KNOXVILLE – This semester JUTN welcomed Rachel Nawrocki as the Director of Business Administration and Nonprofit Administration.

Nawrocki is also an Assistant Professor in Leadership Studies within the School of Business and Public Leadership as well as a PhD candidate in Leadership Studies at Johnson University.

Nawrocki, who graduated from Warner University (formerly Warner Southern College) with a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management and a Master of Science in Management, initially gained experience in nonprofit organization through working as the CEO of the nonprofit organization Samaritan’s Touch Care Center in Sebring, Florida. Samaritan’s Touch Care Center works to provide indigent healthcare services to those at or below 200% of the poverty level.


Rachel Nawrocki and Johnson Graduate Jeryn Evers Talley

Nawrocki, who played an instrumental role in launching the Business Administration degree at Johnson University Florida, spoke of the events that led her to joining the JUTN faculty.

“I was asked by Dr. Alicia Crumpton to be a part of the design team to … build the School of Business,” she said. “I just believed so much in Johnson and just the heart of who we are as a University that I so wanted to be involved in this design committee.”

Dr. Alicia Crumpton, Ph.D. Program Director and Professor of Leadership Studies at JUTN, spoke about her reasoning behind the decision to reach out to Nawrocki.

“When it was decided to launch the new BA/BS in Business Administration on our JUFL campus, we had zero reputation relative to business education and a short timeline for recruiting new students.  As I strategized how best to accomplish the task, I knew I needed someone who embraced our ethos and passion for student care combined with superior networking and public relation skills. I thought of Rachel immediately,” said Crumpton. “She embodies our ethos and ethic of care for students and excellence in all things.  Rachel is a natural connector and ambassador for JU’s mission and for the SOBPL academic programs. Our successful launch of the BA/BS in Business Administration program in Florida is a testament to her hard work.”


The Nawrocki family: Damian, 13, Zbigniew, Kylie, 8, Rachel, and Lissy, 11. 

In regard to the School of Business & Public Leadership, Nawrocki has high hopes for the impact  undergraduate, graduate, and PhD opportunities will continue to afford to Johnson students.

“I think it’s important to really spread the message of Christ-centered business and nonprofit. A lot of people view business and the business sector as completely separate from ministry and Christian calling and so on and that is just absolutely not the case. You have people who we’re equipping and preparing for life to go in and lead organizations and manage people and within their sphere of influence make an incredible impact on this world eternally,” Nawrocki said. “I think what’s exciting about this is that we’re not just another business school, there is differentiation in that it is Kingdom work.”

Apart from academia, Nawrocki and her husband, Zbigniew, have three children and enjoy traveling, competing in triathlons and races, coaching soccer, and anything involving the outdoors.

Nawrocki is also passionate about making an impact in the local community through  involvement in Board membership, missions, anti-trafficking efforts, youth and children’s ministry, domestic violence rehabilitation, and indigent care.