Misty Johanson Named Business Dean

DePaul University Provost Marten denBoer named Misty Johanson, PhD, dean of the Driehaus College of Business March 1. Johanson, a professor and director of the School of Hospitality Leadership, was interim dean for eight months before the appointment and had previously served as associate dean for six years. She is the first woman to serve as dean of DePaul's business college.

College faculty, staff and industry stakeholders enthusiastically supported her appointment as interim dean, which was announced in February 2017. At that time, Provost Marten denBoer noted that her nearly 20 years of experience in education, combined with her outstanding leadership skills, welcoming character, and financial acumen would serve the college well.

"That has proven to be the case," says denBoer, who named Johanson as dean following a national search that concluded in January. "Dr. Johanson has done a laudable job, and I'm pleased the college will continue to benefit from her leadership and expertise."

An exceptional academic leader, scholar and industry professional, Johanson brings a real-world perspective to DePaul. In leading the college, she has focused on strategically growing enrollment, promoting student success, enhancing faculty and staff development and expanding industry engagement.

During her tenure this academic year, fall graduate business enrollment increased 16 percent; staff roles were reimagined to enhance the student experience; master's program and center directors began collaborating more closely to support graduate program success, and the college forged stronger industry connections to support career opportunities. Johanson also launched a campaign with the Office of Advancement to raise $4 million for the college by the end of the academic year and exceeded the goal within the first six months.

"I look forward to continuing this work with the talented faculty and staff within the college, especially as we embark on a new strategic plan for the university," she says.

Denis E. Springer, chair of the Driehaus College of Business Advisory Council, praised the choice of Johanson as dean.

"The council is excited to continue working with Misty to support the mission of DePaul's business college," says Springer, a retired senior vice president and chief financial officer for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. "She is an energetic and innovative leader who connects exceptionally well with the university and business communities and brings a fresh perspective to the role of dean."

Johanson joined DePaul in 2009 to establish the School of Hospitality Leadership​ and became its director in 2014. Under her leadership, the hospitality school, which is part of the college, has earned accolades for both its innovative teaching and faculty research. The Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Education recognized DePaul's hospitality and leadership program as the best in Illinois in 2015. The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation awarded the school a $1.8 million grant in 2016 to create and endow a new Center for Student Development and Engagement​.

In addition to receiving multiple excellence in teaching awards, Johanson has been named one of the most prolific authors in her field. Prior to joining DePaul, Johanson was a faculty member in the University of Hawaii's and Georgia State University's hospitality programs. She started her hospitality career with Marriott International after graduating from Michigan State University. She returned to MSU to complete her master's and doctoral degrees in hospitality business and tourism. ​