Dr. Jim Johnsen leads the University of Alaska as it strives to achieve the statewide goal of 65 percent of Alaska’s working age population with a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2025.
President Johnsen, appointed the university’s 14th president in 2015, oversees three universities and 13 community campuses, which deliver face-to-face and online programs to Alaskans regardless of where they live.
President Johnsen is a passionate advocate for higher education and the benefits of life-long learning. He works with government and tribal leaders as well as business and community groups to bolster the university’s role in strengthening Alaska’s economy.
President Johnsen is a commissioner on the Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education, a commissioner on the Denali Commission and a member of the board of directors of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation. He is the past chair of the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education and vice chair of the Alaska Student Loan Corporation.
Before joining the university, President Johnsen held executive positions at Alaska Communications and Doyon, Limited. He served in higher education leadership roles at the University of Minnesota and the University of Alaska between 1992-2008. President Johnsen was a visiting scholar at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a master’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago, and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Johnsen and his wife, Mary, who is retired, have two grown children, both born and raised in Alaska.