Susan L. Johnston, Ph.D.

Professor of Anthropology

Susan L. Johnston, Ph.D.

Curriculum Vitae

I am a biological anthropologist. My areas of specialty/interest are human health and disease, including health transition; the anthropology of food and nutrition; human adaptability; child growth and development; and native North America (especially the Plains region). I employ a biocultural perspective when considering questions or issues in these areas. To date, my research has focused on health and lifestyle change among Blackfeet Indians in Montana, with an emphasis on chronic disease epidemiology, food/nutrition, and reproduction, and more recently on food insecurity in the US suburbs and on the teaching of evolution. I also am a certified physician assistant and worked in clinical practice and teaching in that field for a number of years prior to earning my doctorate in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999. I have been at West Chester University since the fall 1999, and was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 2004 and promoted to Professor in 2008. In this department, I served as coordinator of the Anthropology Program and advisor to the Anthropology Club for a time, and have served as department chair from 2005-2008 and 2011 to the present. In 2008-2009 I was the Interim Associate Dean for Faculty Development and External Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences. I take great interest in student advising and curriculum development and have done extensive work in these areas. Currently I am the Vice Chair of CAPC (Curriculum and Academic Policies Council).

In 2013 I was awarded a three year National Science Foundation (NSF) TUES (Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM) grant to develop an innovative laboratory curriculum for biological anthropology targeted to improve students' understanding of evolution and the scientific process. I have worked with a team of WCU faculty from the departments of Biology and Psychology, as well as colleagues in biological anthropology at other universities, to develop, assess, and disseminate this curriculum.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Biological Anthropology (ANT 101)
  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (ANT 102)
  • Human Paleontology (ANT 310)
  • Medical Anthropology (ANT 312)
  • Topical Seminar (e.g., Nutritional Anthropology; Medical Anthropology) (ANT 405)
  • Senior Seminar (ANT 495)

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