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Johnson named to state cohort on college completion

JOHNSON CITY  Dr. Keith Johnson, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion at East Tennessee State University, is one of 30 leaders from across the state selected as the newest cohort for the Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute (CTLI).
By 2025, at least half of the jobs in Tennessee will require some type of postsecondary credential, according to data from the Center for Economic Research in Tennessee; latest figures from the Lumina Foundation put Tennessee’s college attainment rate at 45%. Since 2016, CTLI has created a space where leaders from across Tennessee collectively focus on eliminating barriers to postsecondary education and completion.
“The mission of CTLI is to ensure that all Tennesseans have equitable access to a high-quality postsecondary opportunity and the supports necessary for completion,” said David Mansouri, President and CEO of State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE). “This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the challenge for students even greater by worsening the systemic inequities. We applaud the members of this year’s cohort for their commitment to tackle these tough issues and improve outcomes for Tennessee’s postsecondary students.”
Johnson is the first person to hold the title of vice president for equity and inclusion at ETSU, where he is also chair of the Department of Engineering, Engineering Technology and Surveying in the College of Business and Technology. Originally from Cambridge, Maryland, Johnson has two degrees in engineering technology from North Carolina A&T State University and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. He joined ETSU in 1993.
The 30 individuals who comprise the CTLI cohort represent higher education, K-12 education, government, business and industry, and the non-profit sector.
SCORE continues to partner with The Hunt Institute, a national leader in the movement to transform public education, to help design learning opportunities for CTLI and serve as an out-of-state voice to lead participants in translating their learning into action.
“The Hunt Institute is excited to work with this new cohort of CTLI leaders at a time when supporting higher education students is more important than ever,” said The Hunt Institute President and CEO Dr. Javaid Siddiqi. “I have no doubt that this diverse group of Tennesseans will effectively champion higher education reform efforts in their local communities, and we look forward to supporting those efforts in partnership with SCORE.”
“By bringing together Tennessee leaders from a broad range of sectors and backgrounds to engage in educational opportunities and address challenges in Tennessee higher education, CTLI creates a diverse network of committed leaders to serve as champions for postsecondary students,” said SCORE Chief Postsecondary Impact Officer Dr. Russ Wigginton. “These leaders will drive needed change at all levels of higher education — local, regional, and state — to improve postsecondary access, persistence, and success for Tennessee students.”
Over the coming year, this group will work together — meeting virtually to start and in person when safe and appropriate — to identify barriers to postsecondary education in Tennessee and advocate within their communities to drive systemic change.