The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



SMC’s Johnson elected to ASACCU

By ASHLEY CHARNLEY | Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Karen Johnson, vice president for student affairs at the College, received national recognition by being elected to a one-year term to the board of directors for the Association for Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities (ASACCU).

The New York-based ASACCU holds annual conferences where leaders from schools across the country can share ideas, resources and advice with one another, Johnson said.

“ASACCU is the resource for student affairs issues as they related to Catholic colleges and universities,” Johnson said.

She said she started her work with the organization 10 years ago when she attended a weeklong workshop, “The Institute for Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities.”

“When the funding for the workshops ended, the Association was formed,” Johnson said. “During the second year of the Association, I hosted the annual conference at my previous institution, Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.”

She said she has remained an active member and has continued to volunteer for jobs since the conference was held in Texas.

According to Johnson, she was nominated by a slate of officers.

She said she and her fellow members on the board have goals “to improve [ASACCU’s] web presence, improve communication between members and serve as a great resource.”

Johnson said her position should not affect her role at Saint Mary’s, but “it is always an honor to represent [the] institution on a national board.”

Johnson said the knowledge she brings back from the board will help improve her work at the College.

“Keeping current with what is happening in Catholic higher education always improves the way I do my job,” Johnson said. “Being able to share information and resources reminds me that we do have great services and supports here, but I can always learn and bring new programs to Saint Mary’s.”

Johnson started at the College in 2006. As vice president for student affairs, she said she oversees the directors of athletics, multicultural services and student programs, student involvement, security, residence life and community standards and women’s health. She also said student affairs is there to listen to student concerns and “ensure that the Saint Mary’s woman has a well-rounded life experience at the College and is prepared to meet the world she enters into after commencement.”

Between her work with schools and ASACCU, she has several years of experience.

In her student affairs career that has spanned more than 30 years, Johnson said, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

She said she enjoys her work at the College.

“I really love working at Saint Mary’s and have learned so much from the confident women who are students here,” Johnson said.