Administrator Spotlight: Anne Johnson

Anne Johnson
Anne Johnson

Associate VP of student affairs honored with Outstanding Academic and Student Affairs Administrator Award

In September 2019, Anne Johnson, M.B.A., associate vice president of student affairs at Dakota County Technical College, was recognized with the 2018–2019 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Academic and Student Affairs Award for Outstanding Academic and Student Affairs Administrator. DCTC Student Affairs Division staff nominated Anne for the prestigious statewide award. She will be honored at the awards dinner during the Minnesota State Fall Academic and Student Affairs Leadership Conference at Breezy Point Resort October 23–25, 2019.

“I was totally surprised when Mike Opp, our vice president of academic and student affairs, informed me about the award at a Student Affairs team meeting,” Anne said. “It was all I could do not to cry.”

Anne added that she is deeply touched and honored to receive the award. “Such an award does not come without a dynamic Student Affairs team, such as the one at DCTC, which provides outstanding service day in and day out to students, one another, and college professionals in general,” she said. “I am grateful for the talents and gifts each person on the Student Affairs team give so freely and joyfully each day.”

Award for Outstanding Academic and Student Affairs Administrator gallery


Anne’s career at DCTC and Inver Hills Community College

Anne took on her role as associate vice president of student affairs in 2015. Her responsibilities include managing a Student Affairs Division team with more than 35 individuals working in the following areas:

  • Accessibility Services
  • Admissions
  • Advising
  • Athletic Programming
  • Career Services
  • Financial Aid
  • Records and Registration
  • Testing
  • TRIO Student Support Services and Upward Bound
  • Office of Social Navigation
  • Student Life
  • Tutoring

Anne served as interim associate vice president of strategic initiatives at DCTC and Inver Hills from 2013–2015, facilitating discussions between leaders at both colleges in developing collaborative services and programs. She started at Inver Hills in 1996 as the higher education coordinator for the Oak Park Heights Correctional Facility. She went on serve in a number of administrative positions, including associate dean of academic affairs, dean of humanities, social sciences and fine arts, and dean of business and social sciences.

Anne with DCTC students and staff

Anne with DCTC students and staff

Award for Outstanding Academic and Student Affairs Administrator

These awards are for administrators at the director, dean or vice-president levels who have made significant contributions to the development of academic or student affairs programming at their institutions. The following criteria will be used to evaluate nominations:¹

Below are excerpts from the nomination form submitted to Minnesota State by members of the DCTC Student Affairs Division.
Criteria 1: Creativity or innovation in meeting the emerging needs of students

Anne brings creativity and innovation to the Student Affairs division not only through her own ideas based on her experience and research, but also by charging the division with challenging the status quo and thinking in new and different ways, with student success at the forefront. Read more…

Criteria 2: Commitment to professional development of faculty and/or staff

One of the reasons Anne is an outstanding leader is that she does not seek credit for her work and accomplishments. Instead, Anne consistently shows she values her employees by providing them with leadership opportunities, valuing their work, and recognizing their accomplishments. Read more…

Criteria 3: Demonstrated leadership in college/university and community affairs

Anne demonstrates effective leadership through open communication, encouraging collaboration, and accountability. Read more…

Criteria 4: Ability to generate extramural funding for academic or student affairs programs

Anne has secured more than $6 million for DCTC and Inver Hills Community College (IHCC) through successful grant submissions. Read more…

Criteria 5: High level of administrative ability, demonstrated by effective responses to institutional challenges

In Anne’s time overseeing Student Affairs, there have been many initiatives from the system office, Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and college leadership she was charged with implementing, such as Advising Best Practices, ensuring students complete the sexual assault prevention modules, and creating a Strategic Enrollment Management plan. Read more…

Criteria 6: Record of publications or other contributions to the field

Under Anne’s leadership, DCTC’s New Student Orientation & Registration model was awarded Minnesota State’s Innovative Student Affairs Program Award in 2018. Read more…

Criteria 7: Demonstrated support by fellow administrators, faculty, and students

Anne is well-respected among colleagues and students. She collaborates and maintains open communication with others, and strives to make decisions in the best interest of our students and college as a whole. Read more…

More about Anne…

Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Anne graduated from St. Paul Central High School in 1983. She has a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from the University of Illinois Springfield and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business Administration and Psychology from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri.

Anne has been married 22 years. Her husband, Tom, is a chaplain for Christian Community Homes. In her free time, Anne enjoys running (twice a week), walking (five times a week), hatha yoga, Pilates, reading news stories and leadership books, and taking care of her numerous house plants. Anne and Tom reside in Inver Grove Heights.

Anne Johnson DCTC gallery

Anne Johnson Q & A

Anne Johnson

Anne Johnson

What is your most important role as associate vice president of student affairs?
Ensuring students are recruited, admitted, enrolled, persist and graduate.

What is your administrative philosophy?
Seek first to understand, think through situations and then act. I have learned it is okay to defer answers until thought has been given to questions; answers do not need to be given immediately. I also believe it is important to build trust with people and follow through on responsibilities in a timely and thoughtful manner.

What do you like best about working in higher education?
The opportunity to have positive impacts on students. Additionally, to help them fulfill their educational goals.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job as a college administrator?
Maintaining balance between supervision and management with leadership in the aspect of strategic thinking and planning.

Three words that describe you as a person:

What are the most important attributes and skills students need to succeed in college?
Good time management skills, perseverance, commitment, tolerance and kindness.

How can a technical college degree help students excel in the workforce or at a four-year school?
A technical college degree gives the students the practical skills they need to succeed in their chosen careers.

Where do you see the state of technical education in 20 years?
I believe technical education will grow over the next couple of decades as people begin to understand the positive effects of hands-on, practical education that provides the knowledge and skill set to obtain employment at a livable wage. Politicians and policymakers are beginning to understand the importance of technical education as exhibited through grant resources such as Perkins grants, Youth Career Connect grants, Title III grants and local, workforce-related grants.

There is opportunity to continue to develop positive, sustainable relationships with high schools, workforce centers, businesses and community-based organizations such as Goodwill Easter Seals. These relationships will help with understanding of technical education and more collaboration as it relates to curriculum development and career laddering.

Furthermore, with the rising cost of higher education, student loan debt, and difficulties some graduates in nontechnical programs have obtaining a livable wage will aid in the value and growth of technical education.

One word that best describes your experience at DCTC:


 Anne Johnson 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Running
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Australia
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Complete my college education and walk across the stage; participate in graduations as a college professional
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Help family members 2) Contribute to nonprofit organizations that help combat hunger, homelessness and domestic violence; contribute to institutions of higher education 3) Purchase my retirement property in a warm, sunny location!
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: I am a news junky, thus I watch a lot of political shows.
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: I have not been to a movie in years.
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Regular practice of yoga
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Northern cardinal
  9. Dream occupation: I thoroughly enjoy being in education; if I were to make a career change, it would be in some area where I have direct contact with people who I am able to help and are appreciative and grateful for my service.
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Chris Matthews or Rachel Maddow
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Being at peace
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Respect for one another, the environment and self
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¹ Courtesy of Minnesota State
DCTC Student Affairs Division

DCTC Student Affairs Division