Dr. J. Richard Ellis

Faculty Directory

Dr. J. Richard Ellis

Dr. J. Richard Ellis

Dean, College of Education, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Professor of Higher Education

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


Before becoming the dean of the College of Education,  Social and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Ellis served John Brown University in a number of administrative capacities, at times overseeing multiple roles simultaneously.  In 1993 he initiated JBU’s bachelor’s degree completion program for adult learners, a program he directed for seventeen years.  For 15 years beginning in 2004 Dr. Ellis was the dean of the Graduate School. In 2010 he was appointed as the Project Manager for the University’s five-year two-million-dollar Title III grant that was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to put the degree completion program online. In addition to his administrative duties, Dr. Ellis directs and teaches in the Master of Arts program in higher education.

Dr. Ellis’s service to the higher education 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 Chicago native, Dean Ellis spent his early years growing up in the Chicago area, Mexico City and Detroit. His graduate education includes a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Michigan and a Master of Divinity degree from the Talbot Theological Seminary of Biola University.  His work in higher education has allowed him to travel internationally, including China, Hong Kong, Guatemala, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Czech Republic. He and his wife Carol enjoy serving as a host family for JBU WISP students from Mexico as they have done for a number of years.