Tuesday, June 17, 2008



June 12, 2008
CONTACT: Tom Tozer, 615-898-2919
Dr. Tonjanita Johnson, 615-494-7800

MURFREESBORO—Following intermittent jaunts to MTSU from Mississippi Valley State University as a part-time employee over the past two months, Dr. Tonjanita L. Johnson has settled into the full-time position as associate vice president for marketing and communications at MTSU, having officially begun June 1. She will also work with the Office of the President on executive communications.
Previously, she served for seven years as executive assistant to the president/associate vice president for university relations at the MVSU campus in Itta Bena, Miss., and before that as the school’s director of public relations.
“Tonja comes to us with great academic experience,” commented Joe Bales, vice president for development and university relations. “Her professional career at both the University of Alabama and Mississippi Valley State gives her the perspective of both large and small institutions that have to integrate their communications programs. Her private sector background will help bring a business perspective to our daily operations."
“In her marketing and communications oversight role, Dr. Johnson will work to create more efficiency of time, effort and output among the various departments that disseminate information from MTSU,” President Sidney A. McPhee added. “We welcome her expertise in developing this kind of synergy to showcase the university in a positive and more comprehensive manner. I welcome her to MTSU and look forward to working with her.”
Johnson wants to integrate the division’s communication services in order to tell a more complete MTSU story.
“We need to bring more consistency to our image in terms of how we promote ourselves locally, in the state and throughout the nation,” she said. “It’s about who we are and what we do. We all want to be promoting the same message.
“I want to make sure we’re all aware of the institutional polices and procedures for our marketing campaigns,” she continued. “I want to make sure we’re educating people on what those policies and procedures are and how they can get the most from their efforts.”
While the “I’m One!” campaign features students first and foremost, Johnson believes the faculty should be an integral part of that effort.
“I want to showcase the faculty and staff,” she said. “I want this to be an office where faculty members can come in and share ideas on our marketing and communication efforts.
“I’m mission-oriented. I think Dr. McPhee has a great vision for this institution, and everything we do in marketing and communications is going to be geared toward the mission and vision of MTSU. … The key is to understand the priorities, goals and objectives of the university.”
Coming from Mississippi, Johnson says she understands fully budget constraints. She wants to do a thorough review of where there may be duplication of time and energy in order to create a more efficient operation.
“Tonja gives us the opportunity to bring the entire university communications process under one umbrella,” Bales noted. “We need to involve the entire campus in an effective marketing and branding campaign.”
“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” Johnson added. “One of the great things about being here is the fact that all the pieces are in place. I think we have an excellent staff, and I’m looking forward to working with them.”
Johnson began her career at the University of Alabama as a New York Times Scholar and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UA in mass communication. Later, she earned her Ph.D. in urban higher education from Jackson (Miss.) State University. Next month, she will attend the 2008 Institute for Education Management at Harvard University. She is married to UA graduate and retired NFL player Tony Johnson. They have a 7-year-old daughter, T’Anna Gabrielle.


NOTE: For a jpeg of Johnson, please e-mail Gina Fann at gfann@mtsu.edu.

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