Here are five things to know about outgoing Ohio State President Kristina Johnson
Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson is leaving at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year.
Here is what you need to know about Johnson, who will have served the second shortest tenure of any of the university's 16 presidents:
Kristina Johnson arrived at Ohio State amid COVID pandemic
Johnson left her position as chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY) to become Ohio State's president during an unusual time in higher education, given that college campuses across the country had been educating remotely for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Johnson told The Dispatch in May 2020 that it had been her lifelong dream to be the president of a university.
While she said she loved being chancellor at SUNY, New York state's public university system, Johnson said she missed interacting with students and alumni on a daily basis.
Kristina Johnson:Here's a quick look at the Ohio State University president's career
OSU president set ambitious goals early
At her first State of the University address in February 2021, Johnson laid out an ambitious set of goals for the state's flagship university to accomplish in the next decade.
Johnson said her goals were rooted in the idea that Ohio State should become "the absolute model of the 21st century land grant university."
Those goals included the Scarlet and Gray Advantage, the university's plan to offer debt-free bachelor's degrees to undergraduates; doubling Ohio State's research expenditures, and hiring a minimum of 350 new tenure-track faculty members
Other initiatives Johnson has taken on at Ohio State include an agriculture innovation hub intended to protect food production in Ohio, and partnering with 10 other Midwestern colleges and universities to form a network focused on microchip research and programming in preparation for the arrival of Intel.
Johnson's background is in STEM
Johnson has a doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University. She previously worked in the field of optical engineering, holds more than 100 patents and is a recipient of the John Fritz Medal – considered one of the highest honors in engineering.
She was previously a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder and served eight years as dean of the engineering school at Duke University and two years as provost at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She then became a top official in the U.S. Department of Energy during the Obama administration.
Johnson also has extensive private-sector connections and has helped found technology companies.
Johnson's salary was more than her predecessor's
As of September 2022, Johnson earned an annual salary of $927,000, according to the university's salary data base.
That's more than what former Ohio State President Michael V. Drake was earning when he announced his retirement in November 2019.
'Difficult decision':Ohio State President Kristina Johnson confirms she will resign
After a committee of university trustees gave Drake a positive performance evaluation and approved a 2.5% raise, his annual salary was nearly $892,000 per year.
In addition to her base pay, Johnson also receives $200,000 a year in her university retirement account, $50,000 annually to support her research and education, and an $85,000 annual allowance for other expenses such as a car and tax services.
Retired OSU President E. Gordon Gee earned about $2.1 million in total pay in his last year as president, including about $855,000 in base salary.
Johnson has deep ties to Ohio State
Johnson's grandparents first met on Ohio State's campus in the 1890s, and her grandfather Charles Johnson became a frequent fixture in many of the president's speeches.
The elder Johnson played right guard for one of the university's early football teams. He went on to become an electrical engineer at Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company after he graduated in 1896.
Johnson said her grandfather was known for helping his colleagues with less education — primarily his Black and female coworkers — learn the skills they needed to get on technical tracks at Westinghouse.
Following in his footsteps, Johnson has been lauded by some for helping women and people of color in her leadership role at Duke engineering, Johns Hopkins, and SUNY.
Sheridan Hendrix is a higher education reporter for The Columbus Dispatch. Sign up for her Mobile Newsroom newsletter here and Extra Credit, her education newsletter, here.