Johnson to replace Spears as dean

by Emily Fletcher | 5/31/11 11:00am

by Samantha Oh and Samantha Oh / The Dartmouth

Provost Carol Folt will act as dean of the College in the period between Spears' departure and Johnson's transition, according to Justin Anderson, director of media relations for the College.

At Colgate, Johnson who joined the administration at the start of the 2006-2007 academic year updated the university's residential education plan to "reframe the co-curricular experience" and created new policies regarding binge drinking, she said. She also led Colgate's implementation of new sexual assault policies focusing on education, peer intervention and a fair judicial process for reported sexual assault cases, she said.

Johnson also oversaw the completion of the strategic planning process for the dean of the college division, according to Colgate's Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Scott Brown, who has worked with Johnson since January 2008.

Under Johnson's leadership, Colgate's dean of the college division created an emergency management team and an alcohol and other drugs team, Brown said. Johnson helped craft a set of community standards and expectations, including diversity and inclusivity; cultural competence; global citizenship; civic engagement; partnership and collaboration; leadership and wellness; and ethical decision-making and accountability, according to Brown.

Brown, who worked in Dartmouth's Office of Residential Life between 1992 and 1995, said Johnson's transition to the College will be successful due to the similarities between Dartmouth and Colgate.

"I think she's an educational decathlete who can do all the things you need a dean to do," he said. "She thinks deeply and hard about what's best for the institution."

A 10-member search committee comprised of student leaders, professors and administrators and chaired by Dean of the Faculty Michael Mastanduno selected Johnson as the new dean, according to a College press release.

"[Johnson] is a visionary leader in the field of student affairs," College President Jim Yong Kim said in the press release. "Her thoughtful and extremely effective approach to her work at Colgate is widely respected, and we're thrilled that she's agreed to join our team at Dartmouth."

Brown said that other institutions have tried to recruit Johnson in the past, and that he believes Johnson accepted the position at Dartmouth because it is an "exciting" time at the College.

"I think it's an extraordinary opportunity for someone who's interested in leading a student affairs division," he said.

The dean of the College reports directly to Folt and oversees student support services, counseling services, campus life programs, dining services, health services, judicial affairs and campus safety.

Johnson said she is looking forward to the transition from Colgate to Dartmouth and to working closely with Kim and Folt.

"Both institutions place a lot of emphasis on bridging what happens in the classroom and what happens outside of the classroom," she said.

Born in Burmingham, Ala., and raised in Flint, Mich., Johnson received her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Detroit in 1985. After receiving her JD from the University of Michigan in 1988, Johnson worked as the first African American female partner at the law firm Garan Lucow Miller in Detroit, where she focused on defense litigation, according to Colgate's website.

Johnson became the director of academic services at the University of Michigan in 1997. She later served as the assistant dean of student affairs at the University of Michigan Law School, overseeing student organizations, policies, budget management and disciplinary codes, according to Colgate's website.

At Michigan, she also served on the steering committee for the Center for Institutional Diversity and helped develop legal strategies to defend the university's admissions system, according to Colgate's website.

Johnson received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Service from the National Bar Association in 2008, according to the press release.