Dr. J. Scott Johnson

Professor of Political Science with The College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University since 1992.
B.A., Carleton College, 1983;
M.A., The University of Chicago, 1985;
Ph.D., Stanford University, 1992.


Robert L. Spaeth Teacher of Distinction, 2011

Faculty Advisor Award, 1995, 2002.


Director, CSB/SJU South Africa Program, Spring 2016

Director, CSB/SJU London Fine Arts Program, Fall 2008

Director, CSB/SJU Tokyo Program, Fall 2004

Director, CSB/SJU Greco-Roman Program, Fall 1999



Policy Fellow, Humphrey Institute Policy Forum. 2001-2002

Fulbright Senior Scholar, University of West Bohemia, Plzen, Czech Republic. 2000

Senior Associate Member, American School of Classical Studies at Athens. 1999

Stanford Humanities Center, Pre-dissertation Fellow. 1988-89

RAND Corporation, Summer Intern. 1988


SJU Office: Simons 168
(320) 363-2530
[email protected]


Fall 2018 Courses

POLS 111 - Intro to US Politics

POLS 221 - Intro to Political Theory

POLS 337 - Public Policy

Wednesday night 6:15pm-9:15pm                            SIMNS-G40                        

Why does the US Government do some things and not others? Why do some problems get on the agenda for possible solution while others do not? What governmental and non-governmental institutions and organizations are involved in setting priorities and making tradeoffs?  How are solutions constructed and who constructs them? Why is passing a bill never the end of the story? Why does implementation often reveal new problems to be solved?

In this course we will examine the normative questions of what constitutes the “best” policy outcome. What are the principles that different actors bring to the table? What are the tradeoffs and compromises that must be made in order to accomplish anything at all?  By the end of the semester you should understand some of the main theories concerning the process of making public policy and you should have a foundation for analyzing and explaining why certain policies look and work the way they do.