K-State names new vice president of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging

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Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 8:00 AM CDT
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas State University has named a new vice president of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Kansas State University says that Rana Johnson - a higher education diversity leader and champion - has been named its first vice president for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. She will begin her duties at the university on Dec. 1.

K-State noted that president Richard Linton made the appointment after a national search. Johnson currently serves as associate vice president for inclusive excellence and strategic initiatives at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana.

“I am very proud of the great work of our university related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging,” 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.”

In her new role, K-State indicated that Johnson will be its senior executive tasked to guide practices and create opportunities to define, assess and promote inclusive excellence. She will provide strategic vision and leadership to integrate diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging into the work and culture of the university.

“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.

According to K-State, Johnson will work closely with university leadership, diversity point people and the university community to shape and implement investments, plans and strategies aligned with goals. She will also develop, oversee and manage its new Division of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging - including administrative oversight of the Office of Institutional Equity.

“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 said.

In her current role, K-State said Johnson serves on the presidential cabinet to champion the advancement of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. 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.

Before she joined Indiana State University, K-State noted that Johnson was the inaugural chief diversity and inclusion officer at Unity College in Maine from 2017 to 2019 and from 1999 to 2017, she served in several key leadership roles with the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

During her tenure at the statewide higher education coordinating agency, K-State indicated that Johnson was involved with several highly funded projects.

K-State said 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.

K-State noted that Johnson also served as a teaching and research assistant at UK and a teaching assistant and speech and debate judge at Eastern New Mexico University.