DePaul University names hospitality leader dean of business college

Portrait of Misty Johanson
Misty Johanson, a recognized leader in the hospitality industry, will serve as dean for DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business. (DePaul University/Kathy Hillegonds)
CHICAGO — A recognized leader in the hospitality industry will serve as dean for DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business.

Provost Marten denBoer named Misty Johanson as dean of the college, which has programs that are ranked among the best in the nation. Johanson currently serves as interim dean and as professor and director of the School of Hospitality Leadership. She is the first woman to serve as dean of DePaul’s business college.

An exceptional academic leader, scholar and industry professional, Johanson brings a real-world perspective to DePaul.
"As interim dean, I have focused on strategically growing enrollment, promoting student success, enhancing faculty development and expanding industry engagement," Johanson said.

During her tenure, fall graduate business enrollment increased 16 percent. Johanson also launched a campaign to raise $4 million for the college 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 said.

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," said 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 previously served for six years as associate dean, overseeing accreditation, academic quality and industry engagement. She joined DePaul in 2009 to establish the hospitality school 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.

The center, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, provides professional development and mentoring opportunities with industry leaders. A new Executive in Residence program, funded by Hyatt and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, brings executives into the School of Hospitality Leadership to network with faculty, advise students, and connect them with Chicago's world-class hospitality industry. A new director will soon be named to lead the School of Hospitality Leadership.

In addition to receiving multiple excellence in teaching awards, Johanson has been named one of the most prolific authors in her field. She has published more than 50 top-refereed scholarly articles and two text books. In 2015, she became executive editor of the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, the hospitality field's top research journal.

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.

College faculty, staff and industry stakeholders enthusiastically supported her appointment as interim dean 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," said 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."

Founded in 1912, the Driehaus College of Business was among the first 10 business schools in the nation and the first business school at an American Catholic university. The college includes the Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, noted for its innovative programs for full-time and part-time graduate students. Preparing students to work in a global environment is a high priority, and the college’s entrepreneurship program is regularly ranked by Princeton Review among the top 25 in the nation.

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Media Contact:
Lorene Yue
Lyue3@depaul.edu
312-362-7788