Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Kimberly Johnson

Dr. Kimberly Johnson

Dr. Kimberly Johnson earned her Ed.D. in Educational Administration at UMKC in 2016. This was her fourth UMKC degree, including a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration, and an Education Specialist in Higher Education Administration.

“My knowledge of the institution and its program options assisted me with the transition to the doctoral program,” she said. “The Educational Assistance Program for employees influenced my choice to pursue doctoral studies at UMKC. The cohort model was the foremost determining factor in the decision to study at UMKC.”

Kimberly said she has always had a passion for education.

“My prior work experience with Kansas City Public Schools included teaching and mentoring young people from pre-K through high school. I also assist adult and college women in their path to pursuing higher education and defining their career goals. Previous supervisory experience exposed me to the policies needed in education to improve its outcomes for learning,” she said. “I chose the Ed.D program because I want to make an impact in the field of higher education. I have knowledge and curriculum experience from my research in my Master’s Degree in Higher Education Leadership. This prepared me for my doctoral study and focus geared towards solving problems in the educational system as an administrator or educator. My dissertation focus was on the experiences of African American Women staff in higher education.”

Completing this doctoral degree has helped Kimberly to achieve a sense of personal fulfillment.

“My research has added to a gap in the literature and it is exciting to know that I have contributed to the field of higher education,” she said. “Since earning my degree I have received honorable mention awards for my dissertation from the UMKC School of Graduates Studies and the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education. I also received recognition as a nominee for the UMKC School of Education Doctoral Student of the Year Award.”

Kimberly has presented at two national conferences since earning her degree. But she says the highlight of the year was having a chapter accepted for an upcoming book.

“My proposal was accepted from 150 submissions from around the world.  The upcoming book titled, ‘I Am What I Become: Constructing an Identity as a Lifelong Learner,’” she said. “I believe that one should be a life-long learner to grow. My doctoral journey has provided me with opportunities for growth, personally and professionally.”

During her time in the program, Kimberly particularly enjoyed spending time with classmates.

“I truly believe the cohort model was beneficial and helped me get through the process,” she said. “Another highlight was when our cohort started a new student organization called the Student Docs Organization. The mission of the group is to help doctoral students persist in their studies and on campus.”

Kimberly says UMKC is one of the best educational institutions in the region.

“It offers great opportunities academically and financially to pursue higher education,” she said. “We have great students, staff, faculty, and administrators. I am privileged to be a part of the UMKC community.”

For future doctoral students, Kimberly says that advising makes all the difference.

“Having a good relationship with your advisor is essential to your success,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to reach out if you have questions regarding next steps for your study. Your advisor should be a person who not only challenges you but also encourages you along the way. I was privileged to have Dr. Jennifer Friend who provided guidance, wisdom, and unwavering support throughout my program and after completion.”

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