Joan Johnsen, director of academic review for the Northeast region of SUNY Empire State College,has received the Empire State College Foundation Award for Excellence in Professional Service.
Johnsen received her award at the annual All College Conference held in Saratoga Springs at the end of March.
In announcing the award, last year’s recipient Alec Meiklejohn said Johnsen “has worn many hats in the past 10 years at the college and actively participates in a number of collegewide initiatives and committees outside the scope of her own work. With great attention to detail and a deep knowledge of college policies, she excels in her service to students and works with her colleagues across the college.”
“President Hancock told me she could feel my heart beating,” said Johnsen, upon receiving the award. “It is the students that inspire my work. I feel that it is the students who do the hardest work.”
In her role as director of academic review, Johnsen consulted with faculty and assessment staff to identify best practices and enhance the academic quality of degree plans. After receiving feedback, she made key changes to the review process, which have resulted in a positive assessment culture at the center.
She also worked to digitize the review process, officials said. She started the practice of scanning degree plans and having them distributed to committee members a week before a review committee meets. The results from this small change have been that mentors have more time to consult with field experts when questions regarding a plan arise, potentially resolving issues before the portfolio is reviewed by a committee and increasing the portfolio’s likelihood of approval. As a result, students are better served.
Johnsen has participated in a number of college initiatives, grants and committees. Her active participation demonstrates that her dedication to the college extends beyond the level of one location. She has worked with the Office of Collegewide Academic Review on a grant related to prior learning assessment and worked with distance learning mentors and the administration of the Northeast region to pilot an e-portfolio project with the Center for Disability Services in Albany.
During a time of institutional change, she has participated in college-wide discussions focused on “what assessment might look like within the new institutional structure” with peers from across the college.