Azusa Pacific University President Jon R. Wallace, DBA, announced the selection of Fort Worth, Texas resident Stephen P. Johnson, DMA, as dean of the new College of Music and the Arts (CMA). He begins his role on July 1.

“Dr. Johnson emerged as the administrator and scholar who shares our vision for equipping the next generation of difference makers who will use art and music to transform the world for Christ,” said Wallace. “A celebrated scholar, a collaborative leader, and a passionate advocate for Christian higher education, he will champion the work of his faculty, carve out opportunities for his students, and extend the influence of our university in the academy.”

CMA houses the School of Music and School of Visual and Performing Arts, which draws upon the individual strengths of the existing School of Music and former Departments of Art and Design, and Theater, Film, and Television for collaboration, integration, and expanding impact on the APU campus, in the U.S., and around the world. As founding dean, Johnson will provide leadership to 46 full-time faculty, 83 part-time and adjunct faculty, 695 undergraduate majors, 110 master’s degree candidates, and more than 1,000 students, while bringing vision and innovation to a comprehensive array of programs.

“Azusa Pacific University has a strong reputation of academic and artistic achievement,” said Johnson. “With its interdisciplinary development among the art forms, APU’s College of Music and the Arts is poised to become the nation’s premiere college focused on exceptional artistic development and the integration of authentic Christian faith. The faculty are on the forefront of their fields, active in the community, and possess a genuine heart to develop student artists. I am thrilled to work alongside them and support them as they inspire the students toward greater skill and making a dynamic difference.”

Most recently, Johnson served as dean of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary School of Church Music and an associate professor of theory and composition. As dean, he established a reputation for intentional faculty development in a spirit of collegiality, reversed a pattern of negative enrollment and attained positive growth over six years, exercised careful stewardship that promoted collaboration and communication, and enacted a multifaceted approach to donor development. His teaching experience includes The Master’s College, the University of California, Riverside, and the University of Southern California.

“Dr. Johnson understands the power of the arts to reach and shape culture. He recognizes the promise that our proximity to Hollywood affords and the potential that Christ-centered storytellers have to transform that industry from the inside out. He knows that music and art capture humanity’s deepest convictions and give expression to our most profound emotions, “ said Mark Stanton, Ph.D., provost. “His record of creative leadership, relevant scholarship, and demonstrated commitment to faith integration marry well with APU’s academic trajectory.”

Johnson earned his Bachelor of Music from the Moody Bible Institute, Master of Music in Composition from DePaul University, and Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from the University of Southern California. A recognized expert in orchestration, composition, and theory, he studied composition with Edwin T. Childs, George Flynn, Kurt Westerberg, Donald Crockett, James Hopkins, and Frederick Lesemann.

Rachel White
Associate Director of Public Relations
(626) 815-4502 |