Christa Johnson named interim vice president for research, effective July 1

Christa Johnson
Christa Johnson

Christa Johnson, a longtime executive in the Office of the Vice President for Research, has been appointed as interim vice president of research, effective July 1.

She will be the first woman to lead the entity that oversees CSU’s research enterprise, which now totals $457 million in expenditures annually.

The appointment by CSU President Amy Parsons means Johnson will succeed Vice President for Research Alan Rudolph when he retires and will serve until a new VPR is chosen. A national search, led by James Pritchett, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, is underway.

“I am honored to be chosen for this interim position and appreciate President Parsons’ confidence in my capabilities,” Johnson said. “My role will be to keep things moving at OVPR to ensure continuity of CSU research administration while ensuring a smooth transition for the new VPR.”

Johnson added that she will dedicate her tenure to improving services to faculty for their research, especially for externally sponsored activities.

“Faculty and staff from within the division and across the university will benefit from Christa’s strong leadership and deep understanding of CSU’s growing research enterprise,” Parsons said. “I’m grateful she has agreed to serve in this interim position.”

Johnson has served the OVPR for the past eight years as senior associate vice president and as chief of staff, positions of influence in the operational oversight of OVPR units as well as the strategic direction of the university’s research. She also functions as a liaison between the OVPR and stakeholders, helping to achieve significant gains in productivity and impact. The University’s sponsored project expenditures have increased 46% in the last 10 years. Research accounts for about 38% of CSU revenues.

Prior to joining CSU, Johnson spent 16 years in higher education, including as associate vice chancellor for sponsored research services and interim associate vice chancellor for integrity and compliance at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and associate dean for research at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.

She is a leader in national research organizations, including the Federal Demonstration Partnership, the Council on Government Relations and the National Council of University Research Administrators. She earned her doctorate in humanities and German studies from Stanford University and an MBA from Washington University.