President’s Biography

President’s Biography2018-02-07T15:49:04+00:00

Dr. David Johns

David Johns, Ph.D., served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College at Union College in Kentucky before coming to Ferrum College. He served many years teaching religious studies at the Earlham School of Religion and Wilmington College. He has also worked as a campus chaplain and academic librarian. Over the past several years he has led cross-cultural study groups to Mexico and Honduras, lectured at Universidad Iberoamericana and Instituto Bíblico Jorge Fox, and was Scholar-in-Residence at the Centro de Estudios Ecuménicos in Mexico City. He is a popular speaker and has been involved with the Quaker Theological Discussion Group, serving as an editor of the journal, Quaker Religious Thought, and has been active in the American Academy of Religion.

Johns grew up in a working class family in northeast Ohio. His paternal grandmother was a first-generation immigrant and his mother was reared in the mountains of West Virginia; he is the first in his family to attend college.

Dr. Johns brings to his work a deep commitment to liberal arts education and a desire to help students and faculty think creativity about our role as responsible members of our communities.

According to Johns: “colleges that are mission focused, church-related, and grounded in the liberal arts, have always been important; but today, they are essential. Our nation is experiencing a time marked by divisiveness, abrasive and even violent discourse, distrust of learning, alienation across the political spectrum, and cynicism about the institutions of a democratic society. In the present context, women and men who embody integrity, curiosity, civility, and who invest their lives in healing the world, have the future of freedom in their hands.”


PhD, Duquesne University, 1999

MLS, Kent State University, 1993

MA, Earlham School of Religion, 1989

BA, Malone University, 1985

Areas of Expertise

Dr. Johns has published widely in the area of theological studies. His work includes: Quakering Theology (2013), The Collected Writings of Maurice Creasey (2011), Mysticism and Ethics in Friedrich von Hügel (2004), and a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies (2013).