Richard Johnson Taps Interface Between Management/Human Resources and Information Systems

By Sue McMurray

Richard Johnson, new associate professor in the Department of Management, Information Systems, and Entrepreneurship.

After serving in administrative roles for the last six years in the University of Albany’s human resource information systems program, Richard Johnson, felt a pull to expand his research and teaching efforts, particularly after observing the growth of artificial intelligence and data driven evaluations of employees.

Having known Carson College information systems (IS) colleagues for several years and been impressed by their strong scholarship and collegiality, he began to consider an associate professor position in the college’s Department of Management, Information Systems, and Entrepreneurship. Several things caught his interest.

A unique opportunity for collaboration between management/human resources (HR) and IS faculty was one of them.

“I was excited by the thought of being part of a department that embraces both my management/HR and IS interests,” he says. “I really believe the MISE department is one of the unique places where I can leverage partnerships with people who come from both perspectives.”

A sense of shared vision and direction for developing students through The Next Carson Coug undergraduate program also stood out, he says. “I love that the University is investing in smaller class sizes and designing the curriculum in such a way that students will be better prepared as professionals when they graduate.”

“Rich was a great fit for this department given his expertise at the intersection of information systems and human resources,” says Robert Crossler, chair of the MISE department. “As we work to become the business school of choice in the Pacific Northwest, Rich was a natural fit to helping us achieve this goal.”

Growing Carson’s reputation for quality graduates and research

Johnson joined the college in August. Currently, he is teaching Management of Information Technology, a sophomore-level course. He is also anticipating the opportunity to mentor doctoral students and build on the success of the college’s doctoral program.

“I’d like to help develop students so that graduates of our program are increasingly sought after by universities throughout the United States and around the world,” he says.

As an associate professor, his major duties are to conduct research, teach courses, and mentor students and junior faculty. Like most other faculty, he’ll strive to make a strong contribution to his own field of research and practice, he says.

Rewards of working in IS field

Over the course of his career, Johnson says his perspective on the IS field has changed. Early in his career, it was most rewarding to “play” with new technologies and figure out how them to work, he says. However, as he progressed in his career, what he found most rewarding was helping individuals and organizations identify ways to deploy technology to support their firm.

Ultimately, the most rewarding thing about being an IS scholar is the ability to help students achieve their career goals, whether they are undergraduate, masters, or Ph.D. students, he says.

“It’s about trajectory, he says. “How can we move forward?