Higher Education in the World of COVID
Sep 24, 2020
Drs. Michele Johnson and Ivan Harrell
Higher Education in the World of COVID

Michele L. Johnson, Ph.D., has served as Chancellor and CEO of Pierce College since 2005. She began her career at Pierce College in 1977 as an adjunct professor, then became a full-time professor in 1978, teaching criminal justice and sociology at what was then Fort Steilacoom Community College. 

For many years, Dr. Johnson also coached women’s softball and basketball at the college and was twice named Northwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

She was appointed president of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom in 1999 when the Puyallup campus became a formal college.

A first-generation college student, Dr. Johnson holds B.S. and M.A. degrees in in Police Science and Administration from Washington State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Management from the University of Oregon and attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.

Under Dr. Johnson’s leadership, Pierce College has garnered national awards for improving student graduation rates, fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion, and serving veterans. In 2016, Dr. Johnson received the Association of Community Colleges Trustees CEO of the Year Award for the Pacific Region.

Dr. Johnson is active in the community. She currently serves on the boards of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Metro Parks Foundation, the Gottfried and Mary Fuchs Foundation, and Lakewood’s Promise, an organization dedicated to improving opportunities for Lakewood area youth. She is also a member of Tacoma Rotary 8.

Dr. Ivan Harrell has a passion for community college education and strives every day to lead a group of professionals in providing the best environment, programs and services students need to complete their academic and career goals.

Dr. Harrell most recently served as the Executive Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. Before Georgia Piedmont, he served as the Vice President of Success at Lone Star College, Dean of Student Affairs at Anne Arundel Community College, Coordinator for Student Affairs at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, and Assistant to the Vice President at Tallahassee Community College.

Dr. Harrell is a published author, having written or co-written at least eight scholarly articles and book chapters. He has also served as a presenter at numerous local, regional and national conferences and seminars. Dr. Harrell completed his doctor of philosophy degree (Ph.D.) at Florida State University, where he defended his award-winning dissertation, titled, “Using Student Characteristics to Predict the Persistence of Community College Students Enrolled in Online Courses.” He holds a master’s degree (M.Ed.) from Vanderbilt University, and a bachelor’s degree (B.A.) from Wittenberg University.