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Stuart P. Johnson, PhD
Stu is principal of Stuart Johnson & Associates, a consulting firm he founded in 1995, with the purpose of "Making Information Make Sense." Centered on organizational planning and information, work has covered a wide range of activities, from strategic planning and staff development training to data collection and analysis; writing; graphics and media production.
For twenty-five years, Stu taught in the Communications Department at Wheaton College (IL), managed the college radio station, and for the last ten years there was Director of Communication Resources, a new department that consolidated all audio-visual services on the campus. He returned to Wheaton (his undergraduate alma mater) with a master's degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. While at Wheaton, he earned a Ph.D. from Northwestern University.
While at Wheaton College, Stu served on the boards of National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), Midwest NRB, and the Illinois Association for Educational Communication and Technology (IAECT).
As a consultant, one of his early major projects was leading School District 47 in Crystal Lake, Illinois through a multi-year project to develop and begin the implementation of a technology plan. This included a great deal of interaction with staff and teachers dealing with adoption of technology in the classroom (which is now commonplace), developing a detailed plan, then being involved in initiating its implementation. The plan included two concepts that matured as the planning progressed: 1) using building "champions" to lead change, rather than trying to force change on everyone (at that time, in the late 1990s, there was still a lot of resistance to technology in the classroom) and 2) the use of a "rolling" plan to review short-term objectives 2-3 years at a time within a long-term vision. This was a break from the typical ten-year capital campaigns found in education to fund major science and technology equipment needs. Instead, the plan required that technology procurement needed to be treated as part of annual operating budget. This would allow adaptation to rapidly changing technology without losing sight of the more permanent educational mission. Implementation of the District 47 plan involved working with engineers and contractors for several buildings and directing the work of volunteers and district staff to wire others (wireless technology at that time was not mature enough to consider).
One of the first websites Stu developed was a resource site for a college textbook, A First Look at Communication Theory, by Em Griffin, a former colleague at Wheaton. The website (www.afirstlook.com) has followed the book through six of its ten editions, with significant advances in web technology and design along the way. The last revision in 2018 involved developing an adaptive approach to allow the site to automatically adjust to different devices, with minimal extra code. (That approach is used in the latest revision of the sjassociates.com site). The next revision is due in the summer of 2021 for the 11th edition of the textbook.
Among other significant clients and projects have been:
- Tyndale House Publishers—bestseller research, data analysis, writing website content, editing book material. The most extensive and longest-running project was the 12-year involvement in tracking the weekly bestseller lists (NYT, USA Today, Publishers Weekly), first for Tyndale, then for Simba Information. For the last six years of that project, a web version of the weekly report was available on sjassociates.com).
- Waterfront Media—senior editor for a weekly e-newsletter
- Simba Information—bestseller reports and data analysis
- J. R. Bowker—data analysis
- Vibrant Living Communities and Covenant Retirement Communities—design and management of two websites for "second-half" adults; those over 50. The financial crisis of 2008 pushed one of the sponsors into bankruptcy, ending the association with them. but Stu continues to publish and edit the SeniorLifestyle.org web magazine..
- Barbara Miklos & Associates—training seminars on optimal aging, website, and collaboration on a book project
- In the training arena, Stu has led seminars in a variety of topics, but just as often helped other trainers develop materials, from PowerPoint® presentations to workshop manuals, leader guides, promotional materials and websites.
- Working with three others over several years, Stu became part of the RDI Business Solutions. partnership, which provided consultation and training for organizational development. Among the larger projects he led was a salary analysis for DuPage Airport Authority, part of a larger program of staff development initiatives conducted by all four partners.
Scaling back on his work load after his wife retired from her work in elementary education, Stu is now focused on two areas:
Strategic Planning. General organizational planning as well as planning for specific purposes or divisions within an organization.
Research, Analysis and Presentations. These have involved extensive database design, data analysis, and development of various types of reports. Ongoing projects include:
- Religion in America. A survey of trends, some covering decades of data. Based on a chapter for an extensive report on Religious Publishing in America, produced in 2012 for Zondervan/HarperCollins Christian Publishing (through Simba Information). This was developed into a PowerPoint® presentation in 2013 and now occupies a prominent place on the sjassociates wesbite. This project has tracked the significant changes in America's religious landscape, most prominently since 2000 with the accelerated "rise of the nones" (those claiming no religious affiliaton). Stu is available for presentations based on this work.
- The InfoMatters blog (on this website) provides a platform for Stu's analysis of matters related to information in general, demographics, and technology.
- SeniorLifestyle.org. Stu also publishes and edits the SeniorLifetyle web magazine, with a variety of articles from a number of regular contributors and other sources aimed at "making the most of the second half" of life. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21 led to more than 135 articles related to the pandemic (as of April 2021), plus a growing list of articles related to racism & inequality (spurred by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police) and elections & voting (related to the hyper-partisan environment of the 2020 election. Articles authored by Stu also appear on his InfoMatters blog).
Community Involvement. Stu has been active in community service and church.
Stu was one of the founding members of the Wheaton Cable Commission, formed by the city of Wheaton when Westinghouse Cable obtained the franchise for the city. The Commission was primarily responsible for developing WCTV, the local-origination channel required by the franchise, with a studio provided at the cable company office. Since that time, the franchise has changed hands several times (now under Comcast) and the city now operates its own studio in an annex to City Hall.
1993, Stu moved from the Cable Commission to the Wheaton Housing Commission, where he still serves, as Vice-Chair. In addition to advising the City Council on housing issues, the primary responsibility of the Commission is the administration of a Senior Housing Assistance Program, which provides monthly subsidies to needy senior to enable them to stay in the community—one of the few communities in Illinois with such a program.
In 2018, Stu was elected to the board of the Dartmouth Village Owners Association, a townhouse development in Wheaton that he and his wife Jodie (JoAnn) moved into in 2014, after living for many years in a house near the Wheaton College campus.
At Evangel Baptist Church, which he and his wife attended from his student days through the closing of the church in 2017, Stu served in many positions, including teaching adult classes and as church chairman (Moderator) several times over the years. He was moderator at the time the church had to consider its future and he helped guide a process that eventually led to the sale of the church property to another church, with the proceeds of the sale used to continue support of individual missionaries (most with a direct connection to Evangel), social services agencies, and two colleges. Though Evangel ceased to exist as a church, the Evangel Foundation (of which Stu is one of seven trustees) will continue the church's support of these individuals and organizations a total of seven or eight years, a most unusual legacy among churches that have closed.
Now attending Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Warrenville, Stu and Jodie have become involved in the Food Pantry (part of the network of Neighborhood Food Pantries that services western DuPage County). Stu has also taken on the role of chair of the Finance Committee.
Stu grew up in Chicago and has lived in Illinois all his life. Jodie is originally from eastern Pennsylvania. They have two children, both married, each with three children of their own (from high school through post-graduate), one family in Colorado Springs, the other in the Seattle area (nice places to visit!).