Rana Johnson, a highly experienced higher education diversity leader and champion, will become Kansas State University's first vice president for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, effective Dec. 1.
In her new role, Johnson will be K-State's senior executive responsible for guiding practices and creating opportunities to define, assess and promote inclusive excellence across all aspects of university life. She will provide strategic vision and leadership to effectively integrate diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging into the work and culture of the university, working closely with university leadership, diversity point people and the university community to shape and implement investments, plans, and strategies aligned with institutional goals and creating a welcoming environment for all. She also will develop, oversee and manage K-State's new Division of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, including administrative oversight of the Office of Institutional Equity.
In her current role at Indiana State since 2019, Johnson serves on the presidential cabinet to champion the advancement of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. She oversees the university's Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, including supporting and implementing best practices to recruit, hire, and retain diverse faculty and staff. She also serves as chair of the President's Council on Inclusive Excellence and as co-chair of Goal 1 of Indiana State's strategic plan, which involves advancing a commitment to equity and inclusive excellence across the university community.
Before joining Indiana State, Johnson was the inaugural chief diversity and inclusion officer at Unity College in Maine from 2017-2019. From 1999 to 2017, Johnson served in several key leadership roles with the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, including senior associate: diversity outreach and special projects from 2016-2017, chief diversity officer from 2011-2016 and senior associate for equal education opportunities from 2007-2010.
During her tenure at the statewide higher education coordinating agency, Johnson was involved with several highly funded projects for educational development and student success, including a program supported by a $250,000 grant to increase the number of diverse students earning doctorates and becoming faculty at colleges and universities across the nation and a $600,000 Lumina Foundation grant to support Latino student success.
"I am very proud of the great work of our university related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging," K-State President Richard Linton said. "Kansas State University has come a long way, and with the hiring of Dr. Rana Johnson we have the opportunity to take this effort to the next level. I have full confidence that Dr. Johnson is the right person at the right time for K-State."
"lt is truly an honor to be selected as the inaugural vice president for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at Kansas State University," Johnson said. "As a first-generation college completer and woman of color, this work is personal for me. I recognize that higher education is transformative and can change the trajectory of students' lives, their families and future generations.
"I look forward to working with President Richard Linton, members of the cabinet, students, administrators, faculty, staff, alumni and community stakeholders to advance DEIB at Kansas State University."
Johnson earned a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Spalding University, a master's in speech communication from Eastern New Mexico University and a doctorate in interpersonal and intercultural communication from the University of Kentucky. She served as a teaching and research assistant at the University of Kentucky and a teaching assistant and speech and debate judge at Eastern New Mexico University.