News

Unity College adds seasoned leader to diversity and inclusion leadership post

Johnson brings policy, research, and programming to America’s Environmental College

Dr. Rana Johnson

Unity College’s first-ever Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer is a passionate advocate and policy expert with years of experience helping colleges and universities create inclusive, engaging educational environments.

Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Rana Johnson begins at Unity College on May 15.

Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury said Johnson’s “depth of experience in diversity and inclusion administration, policy, training, research, and student engagement are second-to-none, and make her the perfect choice for this important new position that affects every student, faculty, and staff member at Unity College.”

“It’s essential, as we prepare students for this environmental century, that we educate them in ways to engage a wide variety of cultural viewpoints and personal backgrounds,” Khoury said. “More than just ethnicity or class or political perspective, we need to prepare the next generation of sustainability leaders with the tools to engage a changing world. With the addition of Dr. Johnson, Unity College and Maine just got more capable of achieving our shared diversity and inclusion goals.”

Dr. Rana Johnson comes to Unity College from The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education where she served as Senior Associate for Diversity Outreach and Special Programs. At the CPE, Dr. Johnson’s primary responsibilities included guiding efforts to increase access, retention, and the success of students that have been historically underrepresented in undergraduate and graduate education.

Prior to her position as Senior Associate, Johnson assisted with the development of the Partnership Agreement with the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, as well as the management of the Kentucky Plan for Equal Opportunities in Postsecondary Education.

Rana Johnson is a graduate of Spalding University, a 4-year private liberal arts institution in Louisville, Kentucky, earned a master’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University, and her PhD from the University of Kentucky.  Dr. Johnson’s dissertation research focused on adaptation strategies to retain and graduate diverse students from traditionally white institutions.

“In my work I use a strategist’s perspective to promote positive outcomes that improve the campus climate, as well as the recruitment and retention of a diverse student body and workforce,” said Johnson. “I see Unity College as an incredible opportunity to dig deep into a culture that is already doing a lot of things right and has clearly made inclusivity a priority for their community. From my campus visit, it was clear that that commitment starts with President Khoury.”

Khoury said he expects Johnson’s office to pioneer new collaborative efforts among campus entities while attaching them to Unity’s existing diversity initiatives and its unique sustainability science educational framework in order to affect all areas of the Unity College experience.

“Simply put, I created this position to make Unity College a diverse and inclusive leader among environmental institutions of higher education, and to maintain a friendly, constructive, inclusive culture across all Unity College constituencies,” Khoury said. “Dr. Johnson will report directly to me and collaborate with senior leadership across the college to establish strategic direction, lead execution of diversity and inclusivity initiatives, forge international partnerships and programs, and engage in special projects. We are excited to have Rana with us as we enter into this exciting new and important chapter in the history of Unity College.”

Friday, April 14, 2017