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Key Administrator for Department of English Language and Literature
Author: Cathleen Conway-Perrin, Student Academic Affairs
Photographer: Aimee Germain, Women's Studies
Although Jane Johnson taught at a small liberal arts college in Grand Rapids before coming to the University of Michigan, she “grew up in the English department” here, where she has spent 15 years. Beginning in 1982, she worked full-time until the early 1990’s, when she took time off to start a family. While her children were young, she went back to work part-time, and was tapped by the LSA Dean’s Office for special projects like Outreach Staffing Services. She also served as a floating Key Administrator, gaining valuable perspective by working in a wide variety of LSA departments. When the Key Ad position in English opened up, Jane was ready to return to full-time work.
One of Jane’s nominators wrote, “From the moment that Jane took on the position of Key Administrator in 2006, we could sense that we were in experienced, incredibly competent hands.” The other nominators agreed. Several colleagues described Jane’s strong sense of fairness in her treatment of others. ;She was called “the personification of integrity” by one coworker, and others praised her mentorship and her commitment to the growth of her staff. Both faculty and staff spoke eloquently of Jane’s dedicated and creative leadership. She has played a pivotal role in fostering positive faculty-staff relationships, and shepherding the department through major changes such as the implementation of the LEO contract and the shared services projects.
Jane’s current title is Business Administration Lead, and her position covers a broad range of responsibilities. She oversees budget and financials, handles personnel and HR issues, manages an administrative staff of more than 20 people, and coordinates facilities, development, and a host of other duties. While some might find this array of responsibilities daunting, Jane enjoys the wide range of challenges.
Jane likes to challenge herself in her personal life as well. Now that she and her husband are empty-nesters (they have a daughter at Hope College and a son at Gettysburg College), they have taken up mountain biking, hiking, and camping. This sense of adventure is part of what makes Jane who she is and why her department holds her in such high regard. One of her nominators put it well: “Why Jane truly shines as an administrator is because of who she is as a person. I have met few people with Jane’s sense of integrity, her belief in doing something not because it is the easy thing to do, or the popular thing to do, but because it is the right thing to do.” Clearly “the right thing to do” is to honor Jane with a Spotlight award!
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