Congratulations to Chief Information Officer (CIO) James Johnson

A message to the Saint Mary's Community

by Brother Thomas Jones, FSC, EdD, Interim President | July 5, 2023

I’m pleased to announce that James Johnson, PhD, has been permanently appointed as the College’s Chief Information Officer leading the division of Information Technology Services (ITS). James had been serving as Interim CIO, and we are happy to now have him in the position on a permanent basis.

James leads a team of more than 40 internal and contract staff members and 20 student workers to deliver ongoing IT support and projects to the College. Managing a diverse technology portfolio, he oversees eight departments, including Educational Technology, Enterprise Applications, Operations and Infrastructure, and Budgeting and Purchasing. He reports to Provost and Executive Vice President Corey Cook.

James is a key member of the College’s Senior Staff and leads work to evaluate tech trends, identify risks, develop tech project solutions and proposals, and prioritize our campus tech initiatives. He also serves on the Provost’s Council, Saint Mary’s Incident Management Team (IMT), and a number of other campus committees and advisory groups. He served as interim co-Senior Diversity Officer last year and has been active in our DEI efforts, and he also served previously as our Director of Educational Technology and IT for Events and Conferences.

I’ve come to admire James’s collaborative approach when working on large-scale campus initiatives. For example, he and his team partnered with our Office of Marketing and Communications recently in the development and migration of the College’s new website. James and his team also spearhead our campus’s digital signage, managing and building the workflow for 13 digital signs that offer, among other features, customized student messaging.

Cybersecurity is another critical area that James and his team oversee for our campus. He co-authored important cybersecurity policies with a virtual chief information security officer (Virtual CISO) and leads their on-site implementations, and he also instituted policies for regular, timely software updates.

“I am thoroughly enjoying my role at Saint Mary's,” James told me. “Coming out of the global pandemic has stirred our collective imagination around the future of higher education—and information technology is at the central nervous system of it all. I am excited to continue my work pushing SMC forward.”

In the words of Provost Cook, “James is an extraordinary colleague and consummate professional who has made remarkable contributions to the College in a variety of roles. He is uniquely suited to this position and I am looking forward to continuing to partner on initiatives that move the College forward.”

James has deep experience in higher education. Prior to coming to Saint Mary’s in 2018, James served as Professor of Communication at Merritt College (where he continues to serve) and as an instructor at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. He also played important roles at the University of New Orleans, Brandman University, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and California State University, Long Beach. He earned BA and BS degrees at Cal State-Long Beach, and a PhD at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

James is a proven senior technology leader with demonstrated success upgrading and modernizing educational technologies. His experience in streamlining and simplifying technology, improving the student experience, and enabling our faculty members to teach in traditional, remote, or hybrid styles make him the ideal individual to lead our IT services.

Please join me in congratulating James on becoming our permanent Chief Information Officer!

Best regards,

Br Thomas Jones signature



Brother Thomas Jones, FSC

Interim President