Tennessee State University Names Johnson Interim President

Tennessee State University (TSU) has announced the appointment of Dr. Thesa Cunningham Johnson as the institution’s interim president. Johnson, a veteran administrator with a long history of academic leadership, will take the reins at TSU effective July 1, 2023.

Johnson comes to TSU with a wealth of experience in higher education, having served as the vice president of academic affairs at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Prior to her tenure at UALR, Johnson held various leadership positions at institutions such as the University of Central Arkansas, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Meharry Medical College.

Johnson’s appointment as interim president at TSU comes at a pivotal time for the institution. The university is currently undergoing a period of transformation, aimed at strengthening its academic programs, improving student retention and graduation rates, and enhancing its research and community engagement initiatives.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Johnson join our TSU family as interim president,” said the university’s board of trustees chair. “Her impressive background in academic leadership, combined with her commitment to student success and community engagement, make her an ideal candidate for this critical role.”

Under Johnson’s leadership, TSU is expected to continue to build on its growing reputation as a premier institution for academic excellence, diversity, and community engagement. “I am honored to be selected as interim president of TSU and look forward to working with the university’s faculty, staff, and students to build on the institution’s rich legacy of academic excellence and community service,” Johnson said.

Johnson holds a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Meharry Medical College, a Master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Tennessee, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Kentucky. She is a certified administrator of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) and is a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).

As TSU’s interim president, Johnson will be tasked with overseeing the university’s day-to-day operations, working closely with faculty and staff to develop and implement strategic plans, and engaging with the community to promote the institution’s mission and values.

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