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Ronald A. Johnson, Ph.D

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 President Ronald Johnson

Ronald A. Johnson, Ph.D.

Dr. Ronald A. Johnson is a high-level strategic thinker who brings a broad vision, pragmatic leadership and collaborative style to address the twenty-first century challenges and opportunities faced by academic organizations.  For the last 20 years he has helped universities, businesses, and governmental organizations create and implement strategies to achieve and maintain sustainable competitive advantage.  A thoughtful leader and change agent with a global perspective, Dr. Johnson bridges the worlds of theory and practice. 

Dr. Johnson presently serves as dean of the Jesse H. Jones (JHJ) School of Business at Texas Southern University (TSU).  Since his arrival in June 2011, he has applied his unique blend of business acumen, fundraising, visionary curriculum development, and change agent skills to help move the JHJ School to the next level of strategic advantage. The JHJ School of Business has an enrollment of 1,500 students and offers five undergraduate and three master’s degree programs.  Academic programs are delivered through several modes, including face-to-face (residential), on-line (distance) and hybrid enrollment.  The School employs more than 60 faculty and staff and is home to four research and outreach centers. 

During his first year at the JHJ School of Business, Dr. Johnson successfully obtained re-accreditation by the AACSB International and developed strategies to improve undergraduate retention and progression rates; internships; scholarships; and employment opportunities for graduates. Paralleling upgrades in every area, Dr. Johnson restructured the office of the dean and hired a new leadership team to concentrate on recruitment, retention, student services, marketing, internships, and experiential learning; organized a Business Advisory Council of impact leaders; developed the JHJ Leadership Fellows program for high achieving students to enhance leadership capabilities and exposure; developed a coaching and counseling center to strengthen student intrinsic motivation for learning; updated the School's vision, mission and strategic plan; and sharpened the School’s focus by developing  new marketing materials and raising the national visibility and awareness of the School.  In addition, Dr. Johnson has been a regular guest speaker on local radio and television, on topics including the fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling debate, and the economic and financial market outlook.  He is leading the School’s donor development fundraising campaign to raise $5 million over the next two years.

Dr. Johnson is the former dean of the College of Business at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C.  Under his leadership, the College reaffirmed its AACSB International accreditation and revised its baccalaureate and master’s degree programs to focus on preparing Business Ready® graduates.  Additionally, Dr. Johnson enriched external relations through active engagement with the College’s alumni and business and community leaders throughout the southeast region, initiating alumni chapters, its inaugural Golf Classic and chairing the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC), covering 14 counties of the Western North Carolina region.  Dr. Johnson expanded the College’s educational/learning partnerships through the establishment of several articulation agreements with two-year colleges and relationships with business incubators in North Carolina, Arizona, Belgium, India, Mexico, and South Africa. 

Dr. Johnson led donor development and personally fundraised the largest private gift the college has received, $1 million from the BB&T Foundation.  He was a regular guest speaker on local radio and television in the Asheville area.  Dr. Johnson co-chaired the campus UNC Tomorrow Subcommittee on Enhancing the Global Competitiveness of the University and its Graduates.

Dr. Johnson has taught in the classroom and developed innovative curriculum at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida; Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts; and Howard University in Washington, D.C., as well as Texas Southern University.  He is an accomplished researcher and has developed expertise in the design of learning focused business curriculums.  He has co-authored peer review journal articles in this field on topics including, Integrated System Oriented Student-Centric Learning Environment: A Framework for Undergraduate Curriculum, which is forthcoming in January 2014 in the Campus-Wide Information Systems Journal

Dr. Johnson serves as a member of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) maintenance of accreditation peer review teams and is currently serving on the peer review team for Howard University’s College of Business.  He has honed his academic executive development skills by participating in professional development seminars, including: the American Council on Education’s, Advancing to the Presidency; the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Academic Leadership Series, Changes that Matter: Looking to the Future of Higher Education; AACSB International’s Peer Review Training; AACSB International’s Design Thinking and Management Education; and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’sDevelopment and Advance Development for Deans.

Dr. Johnson’s experience is steeped in the world of investment management, as well.  He is the former president and chief investment officer at Smith Graham & Company and led a team of traders and investment professionals in raising and managing almost $2 billion in fixed income portfolios for institutional investors.  He is the former director of fixed income research and senior portfolio manager for Templeton Worldwide Inc., raising and managing  nearly $3 billion in global fixed income assets.  He is the former chief strategist and chairman of the investment committee for Americas Trust Bank, a Latin American investment bank.  Dr. Johnson also has held positions with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the International Monetary Fund, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Active in civic and higher education organizations, Dr. Johnson is a member of the Cougar Investment Fund Board of the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston and the former chair of the investment committee.  He is a member of the investment committee of the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Boulé Fraternity, and the former Rhetoricos officer of the Fraternity’s Gamma Upsilon Organization.  He is a former member of the board of overseers of the Wright Fund at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University; the audit, finance, and investment committees of the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast; the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Houston; the board of advisory trustees of the Houston Ballet; and the board of directors of the Rabun Gap Nacoochee School in Rabun Gap, Ga.  He is also an alumnus of Leadership North Carolina Class XVIII and a fellow of the Center for Houston’s Future. 

Dr. Johnson holds the Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in economics from Stanford University, and an MBA in finance and a B.A. in economics from Adelphi University in New York.  Dr. Johnson is married to Irene Oakley Johnson and has one son, Brandon.