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CSM Faculty Couple Shares Love of Teaching, Arts

February 14, 2024
CSM Adjunct Professor Gina Johnson and Associate Dean of Liberal Arts Dr. Stephen Johnson say that within CSM, they found a welcoming home that continues to let them live their values, and commitment to students, while carving out their own careers at the institution.

Throughout February – a month traditionally focused on friendship and affection – the  College of Southern Maryland (CSM) continues its long tradition of highlighting kindness and goodwill toward its students, employees, and the community by sharing acts and stories of #CSMLove. This Valentine’s Day, Steve and Gina Johnson, of Golden Beach, join in the #CSMLove campaign by reflecting on their love of the CSM community – and each other.

Associate Dean of Liberal Arts and Chair of Visual and Performing Arts Dr. Stephen Johnson, and Gina Johnson, an Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award-winning adjunct professor of communication and an instructional designer, came to work at CSM from West Virginia early in their marriage nearly two decades ago. They said that within CSM, they immediately found a welcoming home that continues to let them live their values, and commitment to students, while carving out their own careers at the institution.

The couple met during a theatre production of “Into the Woods” where Steve was the music director and Gina was an actress and they brought their love of the arts with them when they came to CSM. In addition to his administrative roles, Steve is the conductor of CSM’s Latin ensemble, and Gina occasionally steps in to provide vocals or accompany the ensemble on the bongos. When their daughter Abby was born a few years after their arrival at CSM, they brought her into the CSM family too, and she is now a fixture at the arts events Steve regularly oversees and attends in his role as department chair.

“She’s practically grown up here at CSM,” they shared. 

Though there are occasional funny moments when students or colleagues first realize that the two are married, Steve and Gina agreed that being married doesn’t affect their day-to-day life at CSM. Ultimately, they said, they see themselves as just a normal couple who is lucky enough to have extra insights into each other's work.

“We share a love of teaching and a genuine concern and care for CSM and our students,” said Gina. “Our jobs don’t intersect, and we don’t have any projects where we line up. It’s important for us to keep that separation.”

“We talk about our days just like any other couples do, we just know a little bit more about each other's work lives,” echoed Steve. “We try not to talk shop all the time. We have lots of other things in common – and we think it’s important to never stop dating.”

And if some of those dates happen to be at one of CSM’s performing arts, or lecture events – or even at the La Plata Campus’s Clarity Coffee shop – that’s fine with them.

CSM is devoted to creating and celebrating a diverse, civil and supportive community, putting action to the adage that there is far more that unites us than divides us. The #CSMLove campaign is one example of how the college embodies these values by expressing thankfulness and gratitude to those who work within and in support of the CSM community. In its 11th year, #CSMLove is a tradition aimed to show gratitude to those who are working to build a vibrant college community committed to student success, employee success, and community success. Join the conversation and share your #CSMLove story with us on Facebook @CSMAlumniandFriends or via email at alumni@csmd.edu.

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