Tennessee Tech’s Board of Trustees has named Cynthia Polk-Johnson as the university’s new Vice President of Student Affairs.
The board met and approved President Phil Oldham’s hiring recommendation Monday. Johnson said Tech’s care for students and opportunity for growth motivated her to seek the job.
“I noticed one of the things that caught my attention right off hand was the students first philosophy, which is something that resonated with me and has always been a part of my role as in terms of student affairs and serving students on many different campuses,” Johnson said. “So, Tennessee Tech stands out. It is a small college campus, college town, and I really enjoy that.”
Johnson has worked with college students for 24 years at multiple universities nationwide. Oldham said Johnson will begin work at Tech on July 6th.
“I want to congratulate her, and I can’t wait to get her here on campus,” Oldham said. “But, there was some 140 applicants for this position, so it was an extensive national search.”
During Monday’s meeting, Trustee Teresa Vanhooser asked Johnson how she plans to increase diversity under her role. Johnson said she believes it all starts at the admissions level while staying with students all the way through graduation.
“When I started in this field I was a recruiter,” Johnson said. “I was the only African-American enrollment counselor on our team at Mississippi state, and so my job was to identify a territory and work the schools in that area to make sure our yield always increased. So, I think you have to start with admissions.”
The position was left vacant after Interim Vice President Dr. Robert Owens was appointed as the university’s Chief Diversity Officer earlier this year. Marc L. Burnett served as the vice president before Owens.