Dean Johnson teaching in front of a chalkboard
Dean Johnson was named the 2012 Professor of the Year.

Dean Johnson, the James and Delores Trethewey Associate Professor, was named 2012 Professor of the Year by the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan.

Johnson, a member of the School of Business and Economics faculty since 1996, is the founding director of the ground-breaking Applied Portfolio Management Program (APMP) at Michigan Tech.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Max Seel, who nominated Johnson for the award, commended the professor for his devotion to students. “He has a genuine concern and compassion for each individual student,” Seel said.

Johnson is known among students and faculty as a charismatic teacher, a dedicated student advocate, and a firm believer in the power of personal relationships. “I try to find out where they’re from and what career goals they have,” he said. “Once you develop a personal relationship, it becomes much easier to push, push, push them to learn and study because they realize I truly have their best interests at heart.”

Dean Johnson

According to Seel, Johnson goes to extremes to secure new and exciting opportunities for his students. APMP, Seel said, is a prime example. “APMP was the result of a single, new, untenured professor who took the risk to expend enormous amounts of time to secure the required resources.”

To ensure that Michigan Tech students have access to world-class opportunities in investment and high finance, Johnson has worked tirelessly to create and expand the APMP, which allows students to manage a stock portfolio of more than $1.3 million. Johnson spearheaded the project, handling everything from creating a professional advisory board to securing the funds for students to manage. As a result, students have unprecedented early access to the investment world, augmented by guest speakers and internship opportunities. And, thanks to the efforts of Johnson and alumnus Joe Dancy ’76 of LSGI, students work out of the cutting-edge, purpose-built LSGI Trading Room.

“It is great to be recognized with this honor, especially since it is presented for teaching and guiding students,” Johnson said. “I know that our Applied Portfolio Management Program also had a lot to do with it, and many people have helped me with APMP over the years.”

In his sixteen years of teaching, Johnson has been recognized multiple times for his dedication, passion, and powerful presence in the classroom. He received the Michigan Tech Distinguished Teaching Award in 2000 and 2009, making him only the third professor in Michigan Tech’s history to receive the award twice. He has been nominated for the Michigan Tech Innovative Teaching Award and the US Professor of the Year Award and is a member of the Michigan Tech Teaching Academy, which recognizes teaching excellence. Johnson shares the Michigan Professor of the Year honor with professors from Michigan State, Saginaw Valley State, and Wayne State.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.