Dr. Tonjanita Johnson serves as Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs for the University of Alabama System (UAS) and is the primary system liaison to academic, student, institutional research and planning, and diversity and inclusion officials at UA, UAB, and UAH. She also advises the Chancellor on academic and student policy matters and provides primary leadership in program planning, implementation, and review. Additionally, Dr. Johnson has a graduate faculty appointment within the University of Alabama College of Education and serves as the System’s liaison with the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and other state, regional and national educational and academic entities.
Prior to joining the UAS leadership team, Dr. Johnson served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for the University of Tennessee System. Over the course of her tenure, she had executive oversight of several system-level offices and processes, including Academic Affairs and Student Success, Institutional Research, Human Resources, Facilities Planning and Capital Projects, Communications and Marketing, Enterprise Risk Management, Strategic Planning, and system-wide diversity and inclusive excellence initiatives. Having served as a cabinet-level administrator for more than 20 years, Dr. Johnson has also held administrative and faculty appointments at a diverse set of other institutions, including the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Middle Tennessee State University, and Mississippi Valley State University.
Dr. Johnson began her college career at the University of Alabama in the summer of 1987 as a New York Times Scholar. She earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UA in mass communication in 1991 and 1996, respectively, and is recognized as a two-time distinguished alumna of the College of Communication and Information Sciences. In 2006, she earned a Ph.D., in urban higher education from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, where she was an Ayers Fellow in the Jake Ayers Institute for Urban Research. Additionally, she completed the Institute for Education Management at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2008 and earned post-baccalaureate certification in construction management from Louisiana State University in 2017.
Over her career, Dr. Johnson has maintained a very active volunteer and speaking schedule. She has been a charter member of the University of Alabama Library Leadership Board for more than 20 years, serves as a member of the Alabama Productivity Center Advisory Board and was recently appointed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Functional Lead for National Service Territory 14 of The Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Prior to her return to Alabama in 2019, she served as a member of the Executive Board and Vice President of ScoutReach for the Great Smoky Mountain Council of BSA; the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine Board of Visitors; and the Board of Directors for the Historic Tennessee Theatre, the official State Theatre of Tennessee. Additionally, Dr. Johnson recently concluded four years of service (2018-2022) as a member of the international Board of Trustees for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and was a member of the CASE Commission for Communication and Marketing from 2014-2017.
A proud native of Butler, Alabama (Choctaw County), Dr. Johnson and her husband, Tony, have a daughter, T’Anna Gabrielle, who is a senior at The American University of Paris in France.