Thomas C. Johnson

His Research on Media Texts and Practices

Thomas C. Johnson is interested in critical media studies and media production because media texts represent lifestyles, values, and points of view. “They help us understand how the world works,” he says. “Thus, one of my major charges as a professor is to develop students willing to ask and try to answer tough, important questions including: How do media texts and practices contribute to my identity and my worldview?

His Work Gets Screen Time

Johnson’s most recent short subject documentary film, Marieke (2017), chronicles the life of Marieke Penterman, a woman born and raised in Holland who now makes award-winning Dutch Gouda cheese at her state-of-the-art facility in Thorp, Wisconsin. “It’s currently screening at film festivals across the globe. In February 2018, it will be featured on The Film Lounge, a program produced by Iowa Public Television that celebrates the arts and filmmaking in Iowa through a two-episode program that features interviews and short films by Iowa artists.”

How His Career Path Led to Luther

After earning his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in July 2010, Johnson spent a year as a lecturer at the university. “I was then hired at Luther as a postdoctoral teaching fellow. From there, I transitioned to assistant professor before earning tenure and being promoted to associate professor,” he says. “With each passing week, month, year, I’m continually trying to improve as a teacher, filmmaker, writer, thinker, and community member.”

His Study Abroad Courses

Johnson teaches a few January Term courses, including Communication and Sport in New Zealand, Environmental Communication in Belize, and How Soccer Explains Europe. He says, “As a whole, one of the highlights for me as a professor is connecting field experiences to course materials (and vice versa) during discussion activities and reflection exercises.”

His Involvement in the Journalism Minor

“I teach a variety of courses tied to the minor, including Critical Television Studies, Concepts of Media Production, and Concepts of Media Production II: The Documentary.”

—Thomas C. Johnson

“What’s most rewarding about my job is seeing a student absolutely shine on a paper or project. This often means they’ve done something they didn’t think they were capable of doing or maybe even trying.”

—Thomas C. Johnson