David R. Johnson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Higher Education Leadership
Photo of Dave Johnson


David R. Johnson is an assistant professor of higher education leadership at the University of Nevada Reno in the College of Education, an appointment he began after a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Rice University and doctoral training in sociology at the University of Georgia. He specializes in the sociology of higher education, work and organizations, and science.

The core of his research agenda examines how universities are renegotiating their social contract with society and the implications of changing social organization of academic science for stratification and inequality in the academic profession. Johnson's research is global in scope, based on projects he has designed through the Scientists in International Context Initiative, an eight-nation study that entails 609 interviews and a survey of more than 10,000 scientists in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Turkey, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Johnson is the author of A Fractured Profession: Commercialism and Conflict in Academic Science (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017). His scholarship can also be found in top social science journals such as The Journal of Higher Education, Social Forces, Sociological Science, Public Understanding of Science, and Science, Technology, and Human Values. Johnson's doctoral research was funded by the National Science Foundation and received the 2012 Dissertation of the Year Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

Curriculum Vitae

Recent Publications

  • Johnson, David R. and Liang Zhang. Forthcoming. “Factors shaping the implementation and enactment of campus carry legislation in state legislatures, 2004-2016.” Educational Researcher.

  • Johnson, David R. Forthcoming. “A Differential Association Theory of Graduate Socialization to Academic Entrepreneurialism.” Science, Technology & Human Values.

  • Johnson, David R. 2018. "The Boundary Work of Commercialists in Academe: Implications for Postdoctoral Training."  Journal of Higher Education, 89(4): 503-526.

  • Johnson, David R. & Jared L. Peifer. 2017. “How Public Confidence in Higher Education Varies by Social Context.” Journal of Higher Education 88(4): 619-644.

  • Johnson, David R. 2017. A Fractured Profession: Commercialism and Conflict in Academic Science. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.


  • Ph.D, Sociology, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Sociology, University of New Orleans
  • B.A., Economics & International Business, University of Southern Mississippi