Kathryn Johnston

“It is my hope that my care of the student and enthusiasm for teaching combine to create a safe place to stretch my students intellectually and personally.”


Instructor of modern languages; liberal arts seminar faculty coordinator

Educational Background

  • M.A., Indiana University-Purdue University – Indianapolis, IN
  • Máster Interuniversitario Hispano-Norteamericano  – Universidad de Salamanca, – Salamanca, Spain
  • M.A., Indiana University-Purdue University – Indianapolis, IN
  • B.S., Butler University – Indianapolis, IN

Year joined Franklin



Study Abroad:
Salamanca, Spain: MAT Degree Studies, June-August 2008 & June-August 2009
Lepaterique, Honduras: Homestay Experience, June 2004 & June 2006
Guadalajara, Mexico: Language Study Tour Participant, May 2000
Spanish language, teaching methodology, and second language acquisition.
Master’s Thesis: Percepciones de desarrollo lingüístico y cultural durante un programa de estudio en el extranjero
Undergraduate Thesis: Adjusting Classrooms for the Spanish Speaking Student: A Study of Language Diversity in Schools

What is your favorite class to teach in modern languages?

My main goal as an instructor is to make the language come alive and to create real-life, engaging experiences for my students. In the “Altruism and Civic Engagement in the Latino Community” course, students get the chance to serve the local community and use their Spanish skills at the same time. It’s the ideal language classroom because students are directly engaged with native Spanish-speakers in the community. The networking skills, academic growth, and personal reflection involved in this course get at the core of what we hope to provide to students at Franklin College. Every time that I have taught the course, students walk away from the experience transformed. I love the way it challenges how they think about service and their own value to the community as language students.

Do language professors ever offer courses in English?

Yes, most of the language professors at some point have taught a course or two in English. Given that Franklin College is a liberal arts institution, the faculty members have interests that span across various disciplines. The opportunity to teach outside of my traditional area is a great way for me to continue learning and growing. Within the liberal arts curriculum, we offer contemporary issues courses and international studies courses.
Specifically, I have had the opportunity to teach a course called, “Faces of Immigration: Latin American and US Perspectives,” which engages students in the contemporary debate on immigration. I love this course because I am able to connect students with people and local organizations to gain insight into the various points of view surrounding the topic. I have also taught a course called, “Argentina Revealed: Jesuit Presence in Latin America,” which is an international course focused on the elements of social justice employed by the Jesuits from colonial to contemporary times in Argentina. I teach this course through the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm which challenges my students (and me) to think deeply and critically about how we impact the world through education. Both of these courses allow me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and to reach students who I might not typically serve in the Spanish classroom.

Selected Professional Accomplishments

Selected Awards and Honors

Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award, Franklin College, 2015
Alpha Mu Gamma National Collegiate Foreign Language Honor Society, Franklin College, 2011
Alpha Scholastic Honor Society, Franklin College, 2011
Joseph Sweeney Travel Award, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, 2009
Phi Sigma Iota International Foreign Language Honor Society, Butler University, 2001

What Students Say

“I had Professor Johnston for the first time my sophomore year at FC. After the first day I knew I would love her class. That entire semester, and in the courses following, she did amazing things in the classroom. Not only was her enthusiasm contagious, but also the way she taught was so inspiring. She could take the most complicated concepts and simplify them in ways I had never experienced before. She truly cared about her students, and she challenged us all to do our best, but also gave us the resources we needed to succeed. Even outside the classroom, she was so genuine and supportive. Any time I needed her, she was always willing to meet with me, whether for course-specific questions or guidance on moments in my personal life. Her encouragement and support helped me to learn and do things I never thought possible. I am so grateful to have had her as a mentor and professor. She is incredible, and I highly recommend her class to future Spanish students!” – Mia Taskey ‘16

“Professor Johnston has a teaching style that is captivating for not only Spanish majors and minors, but students who are taking Spanish for the foreign language requirement. It’s interactive and caters to every type of learner. Professor Johnston also genuinely cares about students academically and about their well-being outside of the classroom. I constantly and consistently felt encouraged by her no matter what the endeavor was. I knew I was always supported and could count on her to push me to be a better student.” – Haedyn Scgalski ‘16

“I always appreciate Professor Johnston’s enthusiasm, humor, and positive attitude. Students don’t slip through the cracks in her Spanish classes- she uses a variety of activities that keep everyone feeling challenged but never discouraged. She also makes students feel incredibly valued and goes out of her way to help them make Franklin feel like home.”– Briana Jurrema ‘14

In My Spare Time…

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with family, exercising, playing and watching sports, listening to live music, reading, hiking with our Goldendoodle (Ellie), and traveling.  I look forward to many sleepless nights in the coming months as we welcome our first child (Regan) to our family this winter.