The University of Notre Dame has appointed Debra Johns to the position of assistant vice president for undergraduate admissions following a national search. She will assume the position effective Sept. 5.
Johns is a longtime and respected leader within higher education, having devoted the past 38 years to advancing the missions of several institutions and more than 30 years focused on admissions.
Johns is joining the University after 15 years with the Yale University Office of Admissions. In a variety of roles, she advanced critical diversity recruitment efforts, managed teams, collaborated on a number of important cross-functional initiatives, served as the primary liaison to a variety of important campus partners (e.g., ROTC, Native American Cultural Center, Athletics and the Eli Whitney Students Program) and implemented best practices for selective university admissions, all while creating pathways for the most vulnerable. Johns has been an adviser to freshman and sophomore students and served as a member of the Yale First Year Scholars Committee, which annually brings first-year, low-income students to campus for a six-week bridge program prior to their first year.
“We could not be more thrilled for Deb to join the Notre Dame family. She brings a unique and impressive set of attributes to this important leadership position,” said Micki Kidder, vice president for undergraduate enrollment. “Her knowledge and experience are second to none, as she brings significant experience in Catholic higher education and highly selective admissions. This, coupled with a commitment to the Notre Dame mission and her kindness and humility, is an unparalleled skill set. Notre Dame is blessed to welcome someone of Deb’s confidence, experience, and enthusiasm for our distinct mission.”
Johns earned a bachelor’s degree from Saint Michael’s College and a master of education from the University of Vermont. Prior to her tenure at Yale, she served as the senior associate director of admissions at Fairfield University. She previously served as the assistant dean of admissions at Marquette University, along with a number of admissions and alumni relations positions at the University of Vermont, Saint Michael’s College and Connecticut College.
Johns is well respected in the industry, frequently serving in leadership positions and on national and regional committees for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, New England Association for College Admission Counseling, and College Horizons, and is often a featured presenter and moderator at national enrollment conferences.
Johns and her husband, Lenn, are parents to two children and look forward to joining the Notre Dame family.