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Home » Campus News and Events » September 2011-University News Archive » 9-2-11, Social Psychologist Leslie Johnson Joins Finlandia Arts & Sciences Faculty

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Social Psychologist Leslie Johnson Joins Finlandia Arts & Sciences Faculty

Leslie JohnsonHANCOCK, MI - The Finlandia University Suomi College of Arts & Sciences is pleased to welcome Leslie Johnson as an assistant professor of psychology. Johnson will teach General Psychology and other social sciences-related courses.

Johnson recently completed a Ph.D. in general/experimental psychology, with a focus on social psychology, at the University of Vermont, Burlington. She has a master's degree in general/experimental psychology, also from University of Vermont, and a bachelor of science in honors psychology from Michigan State University (MSU).

Prior to joining Finlandia, Johnson was an instructor of psychology at University of Vermont.

From a young age, Johnson says she was driven by a desire to learn from her environment and the people with whom she interacted. During her undergraduate years at MSU, her fascination with the social world blossomed into a passion for the discipline of psychology.

As a social psychologist, Johnson is interested in how social contexts influence how people think, feel, and behave. She is actively involved in research on prejudice and discrimination, especially weight-based prejudice and how beliefs and attitudes about body weight influence interpersonal interactions.

Her secondary research interests focus on the self in interpersonal relationships, including relationships with romantic partners, friends, and members of stigmatized social groups.

She plans to continue her research at Finlandia and engage her students in the research context.

 "I feel that one of the most appealing aspects of the field of psychology-and the work I do-is that they both hold immediate implications for everyday life," she says. "For that reason, whether I am working in the classroom or in a research context, I strive to forge connections between academic psychology and the 'real world.'"

Johnson believes that successful teaching begins with mutual respect between the teacher and the student.

"This value of respect influences not only to how I interact with students on an interpersonal level, but also applies to the respect I try to offer students as learners and individuals with varying life goals and diverse backgrounds," she explains. "With this philosophy in mind, I try to engage students in course material in a way that is relevant to their own needs and life goals, and in a way that capitalizes on their diversity."

Johnson grew up in Holt, Mich., which is southeast of Lansing. Her mother grew up in the Upper Peninsula town of Wakefield and as a child she often vacationed in the U.P.

"I no longer have family connections in the U.P., but returning here to live brings up great memories of my childhood," she says.

Johnson is an avid baker and in her free time she enjoys baking "pretty much anything sweet." She also enjoys crafting, quilting, and sewing.

"When the weather is nice, I enjoy spending time outside playing Frisbee with my husband, Corey Johnson, and our 8-year-old Border Collie Holly," she says. Leslie and her family live in Laurium.

Contact Leslie Johnson at 906-487-7407 or

Photo cutline: Leslie Johnson, Finlandia University Assistant Professor of Psychology