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Dr. Brian C. Johnson

Dr. Brian C. Johnson advances COMMUNITY through the lens of a movie camera. He encourages students to have courageous conversations that inspire change.

Topics

▪ Diversity & Inclusion ▪ First Year Experience ▪ Fraternity & Sorority Life ▪ Hazing ▪ Leadership ▪ Social Justice

Keynotes

▪ REEL Diversity
▪ REEL Big Bullies
▪ REEL Greek
▪ College Disorientation

 

About Brian

Dr. Brian Johnson is an author, diversity & inclusion speaker, and instructor of communication at Luzerne County Community College. His approach to education uses multi-media and film to elevate the content and provide his audience with tangible examples to spark conversations. Johnson believes our society could reduce the tensions of diversity by sharing life together–perhaps over a simple cup of coffee and talking.

He earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from the California University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in communications media and instructional technology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Keynotes

REEL Diversity

“We need to do a diversity program. Let’s watch the movie Crash and have a discussion!” It’s just that simple, right? Wrong! On most campuses, the mere mention of the “D-word” produces eye rolls, resistance, and for some, a little fear. Besides, who has time to watch a whole movie and then have a talk afterwards? This session is orient new students to understand the critical types of discussions they are likely to experience on a college campus. Reel Diversity offers an interactive, fun, and inclusive educational program in less than half the time it takes to watch a whole movie.

The mission of this session is to teach students to break down cross-cultural barriers, minimize fear of “diversity,” and offer an interactive, entertaining way of having authentic conversations about the tough diversity issues that often divide our campus communities. This workshop shall provide students a greater opportunity to engage in honest dialogue about issues that affect society; to gain a new perspective on various cultures; and, to have a meaningful discussion in peer groups.

This program will emphasize that although we have cultural differences (some of which can be seen, i.e. race, sex, ability; others are invisible, i.e. religion, sexual orientation, ability); we have the opportunity to find similarities. It will also examine how “predominance” works in favor of those in the majority.

Because the program centers around using clips from mainstream films to showcase how we have been programmed to think about self and others, students forget they are being ‘trained” as they build connections/community with others as they focus on their favorite films.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • to develop a lexicon for diversity terms ,
  • how to consider self-awareness as a means to engage with diverse others , and
  • how to move movie watching from “entertainment” to “edutainment.” .
REEL Big Bullies

Bullying is defined as “aggressive behavior or intentional harm-doing which is carried out repeatedly and overtime in an interpersonal relationship characterized by an imbalance of power.” The definition of hazing is eerily similar. Frequently, Hollywood’s stereotypical representations of fraternity and sorority life depict hazing acts as normal, necessary, harmless and funny; yet we all know that hazing is no laughing matter. Alcohol consumption, humiliation, isolation, sleep deprivation, and sex acts are common hazing practices that even when the consequences are not lethal, emotional and physical harm are well-documented outcomes

It’s no secret that Hollywood has a serious fascination with stereotypical representations of fraternity & sorority life! College movies support the notion of bullying/hazing, as a “necessary evil” to inclusion, yielding chapters of bystanders who do little to counteract these negative behaviors. This presentation will examine the ways film normalizes bullying in chapter culture and expose how bullying behaviors breeds an unhealthy, imbalance of power. Students will be inspired to become REEL leaders who are change agents to curb bullying/hazing within our chapters.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • how to understand the mirrored definitions of bullying and hazing;
  • how to identify the mechanisms of power which make hazing possible; and
  • how to develop an action orientation to creating accountability systems to end hazing and bullying.
College Disorientation

Since the late 1970s, the “Animal House” Effect has influenced generations of students and their expectations of life in college. The image of college as a place of rampant risky sexual behavior, alcohol abuse, and low academic performance has been often repeated in films. So much so, it is difficult to imagine a film about college life without these images. Students enter the college campus with these ideas embedded in their minds about what life should be like. How do students know what is real about college life? Students need a “disorientation” to unlearn what the movies have taught them.

College Disorientation examines the lessons we’ve learned from Hollywood about what it takes to be socially successful in college.

The program begins with the Top 10 Lessons about College and continues to deconstruct (using film clips) the following: 1) transition to college learning, 2) living in community with others (roommate issues), 3) choosing a major, 4)relationships & sex, and 5) stress management.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • the differences between “real college” and “reel college”,
  • to distinguish between the mixed messages they have received about life in college., and
  • how to make more responsible choices/behaviors.
REEL Greek

Hollywood has been misrepresenting fraternity and sorority life since the 1970s (Animal House). Reel Greek shatters the facade of Greek stereotypes and centers student learning around living congruently with the values-centered expectations of the founders. Using film clips, this program encourages students to not live in a Hollywood sorority/fraternity but reminds them of the collective power they possess to command Hollywood to change the negative images.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • how understand their commitments to the values of their ritual
  • how to build cross-Council coalitions, and
  • how to utilize their international networks to advocate for better representations in film.