York's Student Development Gets New VP
Dr. Walker-Johnson, who has just arrived to begin her tenure at York, has built an impressive career in the area of student advocacy with appointments at institutions of higher education in numerous states. She joins the administration at York College directly from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia where she was Dean of Student Life.
The VP’s CV boasts an expertise in inter-cultural student development and in “the importance of curricular and co-curricular partnerships in the education of the student as a whole individual.”
In addition to Old Dominion, Dr. Walker-Johnson has honed these skills in a number of student development-area positions at the Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York; Johnson C. Smith University in North Carolina and at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, which will stand her in good stead in an environment such as York, which prides itself on its rich diversity.
And VP Walker-Johnson says she is looking forward to the challenge.
“I first have to get a sense of the culture,” she says. “I want to get to know the students and to know what they want to see. I will try to forge strong partnerships with faculty; and focus on [each] student as the whole person.”
To that end she promises to have an emphasis on curricular and co-curricular needs and trouble-shoot problems with financial aid and other areas of potential stumbling blocks to student success.
The VP also hopes to work closely with the Development Office and wants parents to be part of the equation in the students’ college life.
“I want the parents in this partnership,” she says. “Parents know if their children are not going to bed and not doing their work. They can say, ‘Hey, don’t you have a biology test tomorrow?’”
Walker-Johnson, who says she has never lived and worked in an urban setting as large as New York City before, is looking forward to life in New York and at York College.
“It’s going to be a huge cultural transition,” she says. “But I will take challenges and turn them into opportunities.”
She has done presentations and workshops throughout the United States as well as in England and Norway; and given keynote addresses at various institutions throughout the state of New York and at Harvard University and the US Marine Forces.
“I am delighted Dr. Walker-Johnson has accepted our offer to lead the Student Development area,” said President Keizs. “She comes to us with over fifteen years of executive experience honed at institutions as varied as Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY; Wellesley College in Massachusetts as well as Old Dominion University. Members of the search committee, the executive cabinet, the Student Development area, as well as our students, are energized by the prospect of her leadership. We welcome her to York College.”