Lisa Johnson Named to Governmental, Regulatory and Legal Affairs Role

Posted by Paula Paine on September 10, 2014 in Ottawa University (OU) is pleased to announce the appointment of Lisa Johnson, former Franklin County Administrator, as its new Director of Governmental, Regulatory and Legal Affairs, effective July 1, 2014. Johnson fills the position left vacant by Dr. Donna Levene, who retired from a similar role in April.

In this position, Johnson will monitor and report on all governmental and regulatory activities affecting higher education, and Ottawa University specifically. She will work with all lobbying and industry groups with which the University is affiliated, including National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), Educational and Institutional Insurance Administrators (EIIA), National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, CUPA-HR, and others. She will also serve as the chief compliance officer for Ottawa University in relation to the Department of Education (DOE), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title IX, Title IV, the Clery Act, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and other regulatory bodies.

As internal counsel, Johnson will assist in contract negotiations and administration and will oversee all legal matters affecting the institution. She will ensure that OU maintains its authority to do business in the states in which it chooses to operate and will stay abreast of all Higher Learning Commission requirements and actions related to accreditation.

Johnson comes to Ottawa University with a distinguished background, most recently as the Franklin County (KS) Administrator (2007-2014), a top-level executive position responsible for more than 220 employees.  Previously, she served Franklin County as Assistant County Attorney, with principal responsibility for criminal prosecutions (2001-2005), and then as County Counselor (2006). She has been deeply involved in community matters throughout her career, including with the Franklin County Economic Development Council, the Franklin County Children’s Coalition, the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, the County Commission and Planning Commission, and many others.

"We are thrilled to be able to attract someone of Lisa's stature, experience, and background to assist us in the critical areas of governmental, regulatory, legal, and community affairs,” said Ottawa University President Kevin C. Eichner. “Each of these arenas increasingly affects the ongoing life of Ottawa University, and it is imperative that we have a highly competent, thoughtful and pragmatic individual whose skills and knowledge are augmented by strong personal values and a down-to-earth, ‘let's get it done’ approach to her work. I have no doubt that Lisa will make major contributions to our University in these roles while also deepening our interaction with and understanding of our unique role in the community, especially here in Ottawa where she will be encouraged to further develop her engagement and contacts."

Johnson received her bachelor’s degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, in 1995, graduating cum laude in English and political science. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of South Dakota in 1999 and her Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Kansas in 2008. She has recently taught as an adjunct professor in OU’s Angell Snyder School of Business and has served on the University’s President’s Council since 2012. She and her husband, Pete, have two children – Gabriel, 5, and Abigail, 4 – and reside in Ottawa.

“I look forward to bringing my knowledge and experience to Ottawa University and to becoming part of this vibrant and diverse organization,” said Johnson. “My family and I are excited for this new opportunity.”