Indiana State University Newsroom

Associate vice president selected to lead inclusive excellence

July 19, 2019

Indiana State University officials have hired an exceptional leader as associate vice president for inclusive excellence and strategic initiatives.

Rana Johnson, Ph.D., comes to Indiana State from Unity College in Maine, where she has served the past two years as the institution's chief diversity and inclusion officer.

In her new role at Indiana State, Johnson will provide leadership for efforts to develop a campus environment that appreciates diversity in all its forms and will enhance existing initiatives and implement new efforts to fulfill the university's strategic plan. 

"We're proud to have the most diverse student body of any university in Indiana, and we look forward to Dr. Johnson working to establish us as a model of inclusive excellence in the Midwest and beyond," said Mike Licari, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Indiana State.

Johnson will start on Sept. 1.

"I am honored to be a part of the Indiana State University leadership team, and I look forward to collaborating with President Deborah Curtis and Provost Mike Licari to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice across the campus community," Johnson said.

In her role at Unity College, Johnson collaborated with the institution's senior leadership to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. She also provided expertise in policy development and encouraged accountability for the institution's diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice initiatives.

Prior to Unity College, Johnson worked at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) from 1999 to 2017 in a variety of roles, ending as the senior associate for diversity outreach and special projects. In that capacity, she managed the coordination of the Committee on Equal Opportunities and organized campus visits that included planning and assessment of the Statewide Diversity Policy, student programming and best practices.

Johnson has earned numerous awards for her work and has presented at dozens of diversity and inclusion events. She is a graduate of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Doctoral Scholars Program and volunteers each year to oversee the Compact for Faculty Diversity's faculty recruitment fair.

"I am thrilled Dr. Johnson is joining us at ISU after this very competitive search process. Given her long, varied and successful career in higher education and the field of inclusive excellence, I am confident that she will be a great asset to the campus and the community," said Chris Olsen, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and chair of the search committee. "Also, I was particularly grateful for, and impressed by, the members of our diverse and dedicated search committee, who represented a wide range of constituencies on campus."

Johnson earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Kentucky, a master's degree in speech communication from Eastern New Mexico University and a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Spalding University.

A native of Louisville, Ky., Johnson enjoys running and cycling.


Photo: -- Rana Johnson

Media contact: Libby Roerig, University Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or