Ridgewater College President Named

Craig Johnson


• 30 years of higher education experience in administrative, academic staff and faculty positions with a variety of institutional types, including 17 years of experience in executive positions and 20 years of experience in Minnesota, with 8 years in MnSCU
• 30 years of facility, site and operations management experience, with key roles in capital projects ranging from $2 million to $27 million
• 30 years of experience with multi-campus institutions in 5 different systems in Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota
• 25 years of active participation in community and campus outreach and service
• 25 years of experience in oversight of student services to a diverse range of populations
• 20 years of financial management experience, including responsibility for annual operating budgets up to $9,500,000 and budget planning experience for budgets ranging from $50 to $250 million
• 20 years of experience in strategic planning, team-building and staff management in public and non-profit sectors
• 17 years of experience with two-year institutions, including adjunct teaching role
• 15 years of experience with diversity activities, including graduate studies and a doctoral dissertation focused on leadership of diversity initiatives
• Research background in leadership strategies and executive decision-making processes in higher education, with a specific interest in diversity, equity and inclusion issues, and research work with 23 presidents of colleges and universities in the U.S.
• Proven skills in leadership, relationship-building and conflict resolution with a commitment to collaborative decision-making
• Proven success leading organizational improvement and change initiatives in politically charged environments at public institutions


• Ed.D., Organizational Leadership, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
• M.A., Higher Education, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
• M.A., Art History, Tulane University
• B.S., Art, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point


Executive Director (2014–Present)
University Center-Sioux Falls/South Dakota Public Universities & Research Center
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Full responsibility for leadership, development and management of a multi-institutional center for the six universities in the South Dakota regental system offering programs ranging from certificates to doctoral education, including oversight of 25-person staff team and liaison with on-site faculty for partner universities.

Key Accomplishments:

• Leadership of joint community/universities strategic planning project (January-June 2017) that expanded the Center mission to include a community college focus with an open access general studies program and certificate and associate degrees aimed at local area workforce needs
• Strengthened collaboration with the local technical institute, including new program articulations and joint marketing/recruiting efforts
• Initiated diversity awareness activities for Center staff and formation of a diversity advisory group with community members
• Increased community engagement, including creation of a community advisory board
• Initiated revision of the Center’s governance structure and financial model to improve organizational performance
• Reorganized and expanded staffing and support services to increase efficiency and performance, including creation of a new Student Success Center
• Led a collaborative effort that produced the first enrollment increase at the Center since 2011 (in Fall 2017)
• Improved communication and relationships between administration and faculty/staff
• Led an effort to expand and improve collection, analysis and use of data to drive assessment and decision making for programs and services
• Finished below projected budget every fiscal year (2015-2017) and facilitated implementation of accounting improvements that resulted in the Center having the highest level of accounts payable accuracy at the University of South Dakota for the past two years
• Initiated expansion of career development and mentoring services for students
• Initiated revision of the structure of the University Center Foundation board of directors and initiated planning for a new fundraising campaign in Spring 2018

Director (2007-2014)
Winona State University-Rochester
Rochester, MN

Leadership of branch campus of Winona State University with responsibility for development and management of campus services, including role as campus liaison with Rochester Community & Technical College and community organizations in Rochester, supervision of staff, and liaison with on-site faculty, academic departments and university administration on main campus in Winona.

Key Accomplishments:

• Lead role in collaboration with RCTC to create a new Welcome Center to assist incoming and transfer students
• Lead role to create STEM Village capital project and community resource for the WSU College of Education program at University Center Rochester
• Initiated collaborative effort with the Diversity Council in Rochester to develop an intensive assessment and training program for WSU-R staff and faculty
• Served as WSU-R representative on the WSU HLC institutional accreditation team
• Improved outreach to students and expanded student services and activities, including pilot program to provide personal counseling services for students

Campus Administrator (2000-2007)

Moraine Park Technical College – West Bend Campus
West Bend, WI

Full responsibility for leadership, development and management of a branch campus site with approximately 80 staff and faculty serving 5,000 students per year, including: general supervision of campus operations; ombudsman for faculty, staff, students and general public; college liaison to area communities, organizations, K-12 schools and business/industry; represented college in regional and local economic and community development activities

Key Accomplishments:

• Initiated county-wide economic development planning activities (2001-2002)
• Lead role in creation of a new county-wide private/public non-profit Economic Development Corporation (2004-2006)
• Key role in development and construction of an inter-governmental agreement with five outside agencies to build a $1.6 million Workforce Development Center (2000-2003)
• Key role in design, planning and construction of a $10 million/42,000sf Applied Manufacturing Technology Center addition to the MPTC West Bend campus (2000-2002)
• Diversity outreach efforts for campus and community, including expanded disability services, career mentorship program for refugees and immigrants, and engagement with diversity advocacy groups in the community
• Key role in community effort to revise the mission of the West Bend Art Museum to become the new Museum of Wisconsin Art, with a key role in developing a successful campaign for a new museum facility

Academic Resources Coordinator/Visual Resources Curator (1988-2000)
College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (now College of Design)
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Founder of college-wide Academic Resources Unit providing technology support services to faculty and students; leadership and development of staff and operations in the Visual Resources Collection, Computing Center, Imaging Lab and Woodshop/Modeling facilities; lead role in planning and management of special events for the college

Key Accomplishments:

• Drafted a successful proposal to create and then lead a new Academic Resources Unit for the college – a resource consistently recognized by visiting faculty and accreditation teams as a valuable asset for the college
• Key role in securing $850,000 university grant with funds for new technology in the Academic Resources Unit, including digital images and computer database for the visual resources collection, digital imaging in the photo lab, 3-d modeling/printing in the wood shop, and improved hardware/software/networking resources in computer lab
• Key role in design/planning of $27 million project to remodel and expand college facilities, including a role as chair of the project planning committee
• Served as Chair of the university’s Academic Staff Advisory Committee representing over 3,000 academic and administrative staff in the four-campus UM system during a key period of expansion of the committee role in university governance

Teaching Experience:

Adjunct Faculty/Instructor, Art Appreciation (c1990-2000)
Winona State University (at Red Wing Technical College)

Instructor, Art History and Drawing (one-year interim appointment, 1984-85)
Department of Art, Winona State University, Winona MN

Adjunct Faculty for Art History (1981-1983)
Department of Art, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA


• “Leading with Privilege: Personal Journeys of White Male Leaders in Higher Education to Become Advocates for Diversity, Equity and Social Justice”,
research paper presented at ASHE conference (Association for the Study of Higher Education) on November 11, 2017 in Houston, TX


Current position:

• Complete College America System Team, South Dakota Board of Regents (2017-Present)
• Electronic Universities Consortium, South Dakota Board of Regents (2015-Present)
• Facilitator, Diversity Advisory Group, University Center-Sioux Falls (2017-Present)
• Coordinator, Strategic Planning Project, University Center-Sioux Falls (2017)
o Chair, Planning Group
o Facilitator, Steering Committee
• Board of Directors, Sioux Falls Development Foundation (2015-Present)
o Board Secretary (2016)
o Chair, Talent Development Committee (2016-2017)
• Board of Directors, University Center Foundation, UC-Sioux Falls (2014-Present)
o Secretary (2014-Present)
• Chair, Community Advisory Group, UC-Sioux Falls (2015-2017)
• Co-Chair, Community Steering Board, UC-Sioux Falls (2017-Present)
• Education and Workforce Development Committee, Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce (2014-2017)
• Coordinator, UC-Sioux Falls Executive Leadership Group (2014-Present)
• Chair, UC-Sioux Falls Campus Leadership Group (2014-Present)
• Coordinator, UC-Sioux Falls Management Council – now the UC Coordinating Group (2014-Present)

Selected past service:

• Greater Rochester Advocates for Universities and Colleges, Rochester MN (2009-2014)
• Government Council, Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Rochester MN (2009-2014)
• Accreditation Review Committee, Winona State University (2010-2012)
• Executive Committee, Winona State University (2009-2012)
• Ethics Committee, City of Rochester, MN (2011-2012)
• Citizens League Board, Rochester MN (2010-2013)
o Co-Chair (2011-2013)
• Board of Education, West Bend School District, WI (2006-2007)
• Education Advisory Board, Casa Guadalupe Education Center, Washington County, WI (2006-2007)
• Board of Directors, Washington County Economic Development Corporation, WI (2005-2007)
• Legislative Relations Committee, Moraine Park Technical College (2003-2007)
• Special Populations Advisory Committee, MPTC (2003-2007)
• Performance-based Budget Committee, West Bend School District, WI (2003-2005)
• Board of Directors, The Threshold Inc., West Bend WI (2003-2007)
• Executive Committee, West Bend Friends of Sculpture (2002-2007)
• Board of Directors, United Way of Washington County, WI (2003-2007)
• Washington County Hispanic Outreach Committee (2002-2005)
• Board of Directors, West Bend Art Museum (2003-2007)
o Chair, Museum Design Team (2006)
• Executive Committee, West Bend Economic Development Corporation, WI (2000-2007)
• Advisory Board, West Bend Art Museum, WI (2001-2006)
o President, 2003-2006
• Washington County Economic Development Advisory Committee, WI (2000-2005)
o Chair, 2003-2005
• Program Advisory Committee, East Metro Integration District 6067, Community Cultures/Environmental Science School, Maplewood MN (1998-2000)
• Academic Staff Advisory Committee, University of Minnesota (1994-2000)
o Chair (1997-1999)
o Benefits and Compensation Committee (1995-1997)
• Building and Space Allocation Committee, College of Architecture & Landscape Architecture (CALA), University of Minnesota (1995-2000)
• Biennial Budget Steering Committee, University of Minnesota (1998-1999)
• University Grievance Panel, University of Minnesota (1996-1999)
• President’s Distinguished Faculty Mentor Program, UM (1995-1997)
• Publication and Lectures Committee, CALA, UM (1992-1997)