Initiated in 1976, the Last Lecture has become an important Honors Program student tradition at Utah State University. Honors students have the opportunity to nominate an outstanding tenured professor who has made a noteworthy contribution to the education and mentorship of undergraduates, both inside and outside of the classroom. A committee of honors students selects the winner each year, giving one exceptional professor the opportunity to speak to students as if it were his or her final lecture at USU. The committee pays attention to length of service at USU and influence on students' lives.
2018 Honors Outstanding Professor Dr. Jeannie Johnson
Jeannie L. Johnson is an assistant professor in the Political Science Department at Utah State University. Dr. Johnson’s primary research interest, strategic culture, examines the impact of national and organizational cultures on the formation of security policy. Dr. Johnson worked within the CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence as a member of the Balkan Task Force from 1998-1999 and served with the U.S. State Department in Embassies in Paris and Zagreb. The Cultural Topography analytic method she pioneered with co-author Matt Berrett was featured in CIA’s June 2011 edition of Studies in Intelligence.
Dr. Johnson focuses on the application of strategic culture analysis to the WMD issue and has co-edited two books on that topic: Strategic Culture and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Culturally Based Insights into Comparative National Security Policymaking and Crossing Nuclear Thresholds: Leveraging Socio-Cultural Insights into Nuclear Decisionmaking (Palgrave Macmillan 2009, 2018).
She applies the same toolset to analysis of U.S. national and military service cultures, including critical blindspots in our foreign and security policy. Her book, The Marines, Counterinsurgency, and Strategic Culture: Lessons Learned and Lost in America’s Wars (foreword by Secretary of Defense James Mattis) explores the collective impact of three layers of culture: the internal culture of the U.S. Marine Corps, the culture of the U.S. military, and American national culture across 100 years of counterinsurgency operations (Georgetown University Press, 2018).
Dr. Johnson received her doctorate from the University of Reading in 2013 and currently serves as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) to the Pentagon’s Close Combat Lethality Task Force.
If you'd like to nominate your favorite professor to give next year's Last Lecture as the 2019 Honors Outstanding Professor, use this nomination form.
Previous Last Lectures:
42nd Annual - 2017
Dr. Brian McCuskey, English - "Alice vs. Sherlock: Who Knows Best?"
View a video recording of Dr. McCuskey's Last Lecture.
41st Annual - 2016
Dr. Cathy Bullock, Journalism and Communication - "Rock the Vote: Putting the Communication Revolution to Work"
View a video recording of Dr. Bullock's Last Lecture.
40th Annual - 2015
Dr. Fee Busby, Wildland Resources - "Make a Difference: It's Our Only Hope"
View a video recording of Dr. Busby's Last Lecture.
39th Annual - 2014
Dr. Nat B. Frazer, Environment and Society - "Teaching Fast and Slow: What Have We Done For You Lately?"
View a video recording of Dr. Frazer's Last Lecture.
38th Annual - 2013
Dr. Phebe Jensen, English - "I'll Drown My Book: Shakespeare's Last Lecture"
View a video recording of Dr. Jensen's Last Lecture.
37th Annual - 2012
Dr. John C. Allen, Sociology - "The Role of Community in a Civil Society"
Listen to a podcast of Dr. Allen's Last Lecture.
36th Annual - 2011
Dr. Joyce Kinkead, English - "Standing on Boo Radley's Porch: The Importance of Story"
Watch a video and read an article about Dr. Kinkead's Last Lecture.
35th Annual - 2010
Dr. Charles Swenson, Engineering -"We Choose to Go to the Moon"
View a video recording of Dr. Swenson's Last Lecture.
34th Annual - 2009
Dr. Ann Berghout Austin, Family, Consumer, and Human Development - "Children: My Least Common Denominator"
View a video recording of Dr. Austin's Last Lecture.
33rd Annual - 2008
Dr. David Peak, Physics - "Complexity and the New Academy: They Put My Office Where?"
32nd Annual - 2007
Dr. Patricia Gantt, English - "Waiting for the World to Change: Reflections of an Aging Hippie"
31st Annual - 2006
Dr. Mark Damen, Theatre Arts/History - "'Look There! Look There!': What's the Past Imperative?"
30th Annual - 2005
Dr. James P. Evans, Geology - "Utah 2050: Oil, Milk, and Water in a Land of Plenty (of People)"
29th Annual - 2004
Dr. William L. Furlong, Political Science - "Academic Freedom & Political Correctness: Teaching Controversial Topics Constructively"
28th Annual - 2003
Dr. Randy T. Simmons, Political Science - "The Tyranny of Good Intentions"
27th Annual - 2002
Dr. Tom Peterson, Interior Design - "If It Speaks to You, Listen; If It is Mute, Move On"
26th Annual - 2001
Dr. Craig W. Johnson, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning - "A Tale of Two Communities: Managing the Ordeal of Change in the Intermountain West"
25th Annual - 2000
Dr. Anne J. Anderson, Biology - "Research: Both Crystal Ball Gazing and Detective Skill"
24th Annual - 1999
Dr. Carol O'Connor, History - "Freedom Crashed Down on Me"
23rd Annual - 1998
Last Lecture was not held this year
22nd Annual - 1997
Dr. Ken Brewer, English - "The Beautiful Changes: Poetry at the End of the Century"
21st Annual - 1996
Dr. Norman Jones, History - "Evil and the History of Virtue"
20th Annual - 1995
Dr. David Lancy, Anthropology - "Succor the Children"
19th Annual - 1994
Dr. Joseph Morse, Chemistry - "Life is a Growth Curve...(?)! It's Chemistry!"
18th Annual - 1993
Dr. Richard Sherlock, Philosophy - "The Three Journeys of Humankind"
17th Annual - 1992
Dr. Chuck Johnson, Philosophy - "The Gong"
16th Annual - 1991
Dr. Jim MacMahon, Biology - "What I Was Hired To Do Is Not Part of My Job"
15th Annual - 1990
Dr. Larry Cannon, Math - "Who Grades the Graders?"
14th Annual - 1989
Dr. Charles Lutz, Business Information Systems - "Education: The Last Odyssey"
13th Annual - 1988
Dr. Howard Carlisle, Business Administration - "America's Leadership Crisis"
12th Annual - 1987
Dr. Ross Allen, Secondary Education - "U.S. Education: Committing Hara-Kiri?"
11th Annual - 1986
Dr. Richard B. Powers, Psychology - "Alternatives to the Lecture"
10th Annual - 1985
Dr. James J. Kennedy, Forest Resources - "Staying a Student of Trees and People as Your Hair Turns Gray"
9th Annual - 1984
Dr. Kenneth C. Farrer, Secondary Education - "Beyond Basic Mastery to Something More"
8th Annual - 1983
Dr. T.Y. Booth, English - "Humanism"
7th Annual - 1982
Dr. W. Farrell Edwards, Physics - "To Honor the Individual"
6th Annual - 1981
Dr. Warren Burton, Music - "Straight Shooters Always Win"
5th Annual - 1980
Dr. J. Clair Batty, Mechanical Engineering - "On Agonies and Ecstasies of Academic Acclimation"
4th Annual - 1979
Dr. M. Judd Harmon, Political Science - "A Few Options"
3rd Annual - 1978
Dr. Irving Wassermann, Music - "Making Music and Musicians"
2nd Annual - 1977
Dr. F. Ross Peterson, History - "No Exit: The Contemporary Search for Historical Reality"
1st Annual - 1976
Dr. Garth Lee, Chemistry - "Ideas on Teaching"