Dr. J. Richard Ellis

Faculty Directory

Dr. J. Richard Ellis

Dr. J. Richard Ellis

Dean of The Graduate School
Interim Dean, College of Education and Human Services
Professor of Higher Education

Ph.D., University of Michigan
M.Div., Biola University
B.R.Ed., William Tyndale College


Dr. Ellis has been dean of the graduate programs at John Brown University since 2004, during which time the Graduate School has grown in faculty, facilities, programs and enrollment. Today JBU’s Graduate School offers master’s degrees on campus, online, and at our educational centers in Northwest Arkansas, Fort Smith, and Little Rock in the fields of counselingcybersecuritybusiness, education, and higher education.

In 1993 Dr. Ellis initiated JBU’s bachelor’s degree completion program for adult learners, a program he directed for seventeen years.  In 2010 he was appointed as the Project Manager for the University’s two-million dollar Title III grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, that put the degree completion program online. He directs and teaches in the Master of Arts program in higher education. Since Summer 2018, Dr. Ellis also has served as the Interim Dean of the College of Education and Human Services.

 Dr. Ellis’s service to the higher educational community extends beyond John Brown University. He was co-editor of the Fall 2012 issue of New Directions for Higher Education. As a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission he participates in accreditation visits to other college campuses regularly and served as a member of the Commission's Accreditation Review Council.  He served on the Leadership Council of Christian Adult Higher Education Association (CAHEA), including two years as CAHEA president, and on the original Steering Committee for the CCCU Center for Research in Adult Learning. Prior to coming to JBU he held faculty and administrative positions at colleges in Michigan and Virginia. 

A native of Chicago, Dean Ellis spent his early years living in suburban Chicago, Mexico City and Detroit. He earned his Ph.D. in higher education administration from The University of Michigan, a M.Div. degree from Biola University in California and a bachelor's degree from William Tyndale College. His work in higher education has allowed him to travel to China, Hong Kong, Guatemala, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Czech Republic.  Dr. Ellis is an advocate for international learning opportunities for JBU’s graduate students