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Associate Provost in Diversity and Community Engagement

June 17, 2021

Dear students, staff and faculty of Saint Louis University, 

Over the past two months we have been working to identify and hire an additional senior leader for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. We and Dr. Smith are pleased to announce Amber Johnson, Ph.D., professor of communication, as the new Associate Provost in the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement. 

Dr. Johnson will officially begin in this role on July 1.

A co-founder and principal of the Institute for Healing Justice and Equity, Dr. Johnson brings extraordinary scholarship and operational experience to the interlocking issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and community engagement. 

Among Dr. Johnson’s many strengths are an impressive publication record and a deep commitment to marginalized communities. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the St. Louis Regional Racial Healing + Justice Fund, Dr. Johnson continues to operate The Justice Fleet, a mobile, social justice museum that fosters communal healing through art, dialogue and play. 

One of the first tasks Dr. Johnson will assume is to lead the strategic planning session that Dr. Smith had begun to organize with his direct reports –– Regina Walton, Luella Loseille and Dr. Richard Marks. 

As some know, Dr. Smith experienced a sudden and significant health episode. He is doing well, and while his recovery will require him to step back from some job duties for a period of time, he is excited about Dr. Johnson’s coming onboard to continue the work of the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement. We look forward to Dr. Smith’s full recovery and return. 

Dr. Johnson also will use that strategic planning opportunity to welcome the Center for Service and Community Engagement (CSCE) under the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement umbrella. 

Please offer your congratulations and support of Dr. Johnson, and please pray for the speedy recovery of Dr. Smith and for his family. 


Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., President
Mike Lewis, Ph.D., Provost