The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) recently recognized Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Rana Johnson for her work mentoring students during her years in Kentucky.
Seven doctoral completers and current scholars from the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville, led by Dr. La Toya Bianca Smith, initiated the award process, approaching SREB director Dr. Ansley Abraham about honoring Dr. Johnson during the SREB’s 24th annual Institute on Teaching and Mentoring in Atlanta, Georgia, in late October.
The Institute on Teaching and Mentoring is one of the largest gatherings of minority doctoral scholars in the country, giving the issue of faculty diversity a national focus and providing minority scholars with the strategies necessary to survive the rigors of graduate school, earn the doctoral degree and succeed as a member of the professoriate. Dr. Johnson served on the Regional Advisory Board for the SREB Doctoral Scholars Program for many years before transitioning to Unity College in May 2017.
“It’s wonderful to see Dr. Johnson recognized by those she has mentored and by the SREB,” Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury said. “She is held in high regard wherever she goes, and we are lucky to have her at Unity College.”
The award was presented by Dr. Smith at the Institute breakfast, along with a $2,000 donation to the SREB’s 25 for 25 campaign in Dr. Johnson’s name. The 25 for 25 Campaign was established with the goal of raising $25,000 by August 2018 to support the program’s professional development and service grant funds for Ph.D. scholars and graduates.
School of Environmental Citizenship Dean Dr. Pieter deHart and Professor of Wildlife Biology Jennifer Clarke also attended the SREB Institute on Teaching and Mentoring and participated in the Faculty Recruitment Fair for the first time to network for potential and future faculty openings at the college. Information was also distributed regarding new online advanced degrees at Unity College.
“I am incredibly humbled and honored to receive such a special recognition from my current scholars and graduate colleagues,” Dr. Johnson said. “The conference allowed Unity College to put our best foot forward, and provided a great opportunity to showcase all the amazing things we’re doing here. I encourage all of my former students to give their time, make a commitment and become a resource to mentor the next generation of graduate scholars.”
Dr. Johnson brings a lifetime of experience in and love for higher education to her position as the first-ever Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Unity College. President Khoury believes her depth of experience in diversity and inclusion administration, policy, training, research, and student engagement are second-to-none, making her the perfect choice for this important new position that affects every student, faculty, and staff member at Unity College.