Board of Trustees Chair Phyllis Q. Karavatakis ’76 announced today that Dr. David Johns has been appointed the twelfth president of Ferrum College. Johns currently serves as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Union College, a private, United Methodist affiliated, liberal arts institution in Barbourville, Kentucky. He will assume his new role as president of Ferrum College on January 1, 2018.
Johns was the top candidate in a field of semi-finalists with experience and expertise in the roles of either president, provost, or vice president at comparable higher education institutions. The search committee consisted of Ms. Karavatakis, as the chair, along with Ferrum College trustees, alumni, faculty, student, and staff representatives who had not served on prior selection committees. In September, members began the review of applications from a deep field of qualified higher education administrators. Using professional search protocol, members then narrowed the field and conducted off-campus interviews with several semi-finalists. The committee brought their unanimous recommendation to the full Board of Trustees for their consideration and final selection.
According to Ms. Karavatakis, “Of all the candidates, Dr. Johns was deemed the best fit for president of Ferrum College. During his tenure at a Methodist-related institution, Dr. Johns taught and advised a student population comparable to that found at Ferrum College in a region similar to southwest Virginia. His sense of mission, his background as a vice president for academic affairs, and his experience as a faculty member, a Southern Association of Colleges & Schools (SACS) reviewer, a college chaplain, and a college librarian allow him to understand the complexity of higher education in the 21st century.”
Johns grew up near Canton, Ohio and was the first in his family to attend college. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Malone University in 1985, his Master of Arts from Earlham School of Religion in 1989, a Master of Library Science from Kent State University in 1993, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Theology from Duquesne University in 1999.
Upon his selection as the next Ferrum College president, Johns said, “I am honored to join the Ferrum community at a time of great opportunity and promise. The College’s history of service to the region is inspiring. I believe college should be a place where we are challenged to grow, to think, and to figure out how we can contribute to healing the world. This is in Ferrum’s DNA and Susan and I are eager to work with the entire Ferrum community to ensure this continues for generations to come.”
Johns is also a peer accreditation reviewer with the SACS Commission on Colleges, the Chair of the Faculty Research Fellowship Committee with the Appalachian College Association, and is active with the Chief Academic Officers group of the Association for Independent Kentucky Colleges & Universities.