Leadership in Changing Times

Misty Johanson

Dean Misty Johanson | Photo by Kathy Hillegonds

This spring brings change to our business college, both unexpected and planned.

As we were finishing this issue of Business Exchange, COVID-19 became a pandemic that compelled DePaul to move all spring quarter courses online and all student services to remote delivery for everyone’s safety. I am proud of how quickly our teleworking business faculty and staff united to make this happen, ensuring that our students could continue their education and receive much-needed support during uncertain times.

Our college is also undergoing a change in leadership. After much thought, I decided in January to pursue a new direction in my professional life and step down as dean at the end of my term on June 30. I have served for nine years as associate dean and dean of the Driehaus College of Business and now plan to return as a senior faculty member at the School of Hospitality Leadership in July 2021 after a one-year leave. I am confident our college will be in good hands under the leadership of Interim Dean Thomas Donley. Tom has distinguished himself in a series of college and university leadership roles during his 30-year DePaul career. I invite you to read more about Tom in College News.

I am honored to have had the opportunity to lead this great college and proud of all we have accomplished. During my three years as dean, I have had the pleasure of collaborating with our faculty, staff, students, alumni, advisory council members and benefactors to better position our college to withstand the challenges we face in the current higher education environment. Together we developed an ambitious, five-year strategic plan that sets our college’s direction through 2024.

One of the plan’s priorities is to expand our distinctive student career development and mentoring programs that produce graduates who are sought after in the job market. The strategy centers on mobilizing our college’s strong business community relationships and large alumni network to connect students to internships that lead to careers after graduation. Our feature story introduces you to alumni who have found their career paths
through these initiatives. These efforts are more important than ever as the Class of 2020 enters a job market and economy altered by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19.

I am honored to have had the opportunity to lead this great college and proud of all we have accomplished.

Our strategic plan also emphasizes the creation of new market-driven degree programs that meet the changing needs of working professionals and the organizations that hire and promote them. In College News, we share more about our new graduate business degrees scheduled to debut this fall.

As we pursue our strategic plan goals, we remain committed to providing students with a high-quality business education that connects theory to practice. The most recent Princeton Review college rankings highlight the results of this commitment. Once again both our undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurship programs placed in the nation’s top 25. Our reputation is also bolstered by faculty members who are producing notable scholarship that addresses real-world issues. Two of them, Nezih Altay and Alyssa Westring, are featured in this issue.

I am grateful for your contributions that helped our college exceed its fundraising goals during my tenure. I thank you for supporting the Blue Demon Challenge on Jan. 23, which allowed our college to surpass its one-day fundraising challenges and DePaul to raise more than $2 million—twice the university’s goal—during this day of giving. I also thank our generous alumni donors and families who have contributed significant gifts to support centers and student success programs at our college. This support is essential for our mission to continue.

I am so thankful to have had a chance to work with you to make our college and the DePaul mission stronger, and I will continue to support our future success in my new role.

Misty Johanson signature

Misty Johanson
Driehaus College of Business

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