Union College has announced David Johns, Ph.D., as the institution’s new vice president for academic affairs.
Johns comes to Union from Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Ind., where he served as associate professor of theology.
Union College’s commitment to ensuring the success of first-generation college students is what initially attracted him to the school. “That’s my story, too,” said Johns, who was the first in his family to pursue a college degree. “I know firsthand how a life can be changed by a community that cares and inspires. What is taking place at Union is more than learning; it is education. It is transformation.”
Prior to his position at Earlham School of Religion, he worked at Wilmington College as assistant professor of religion and philosophy and campus chaplain, and at Malone College as adjunct professor of religious studies and a reference librarian. He said that these experiences have helped prepare him for his new job at Union.
“I’ve served in a number of capacities in colleges: from making pizzas and handing out pool cues as a student, to being a reference librarian, a campus pastor and a professor. Over the years I’ve taken on more responsibility and have become more involved in visioning and leadership,” Johns said. “So when I read that Union wanted a vice president who would be a visible presence on campus, interacting with students as well as faculty and other administrators, I thought: ‘that’s who I am; that’s where I want to be!’”
Andelys Wood, Ph.D., interim vice president for academic affairs, said that the appointment of Johns to this position is an exciting one that she can easily support.
“At the end of an exhausting academic year, I’m excited that David Johns is bringing new energy to the Academic Affairs office, and I look forward to working with him,” Wood said.
Marcia Hawkins, Ph.D., president of Union College, said that Johns will be an asset to the college because of his academic credentials and faith-based leadership style.
“Dr. Johns embraces Union College’s values and understands the importance of providing an education interwoven with spirituality,” Hawkins said. “He is fully committed to helping our students understand the importance of become lifelong learners. I, along with other members of the search committee, am confident that Dr. Johns is a perfect fit for Union College.”
Johns is scheduled to begin his duties on July 1. He said once he arrives on campus, he plans to take time to meet everyone, and get a feel for Union before making any big moves.
“My short-term goal is to learn as much as I can—and as fast as I can—about Union and to meet as many people as possible,” he said. “I have a lot of listening to do and a lot of stories to hear. One of the ways I think about the work I’ll do at Union is through the four words: place, programs, policies and most important, people.”