Johnson named Harper W. Boyd Professor of Excellence

Vess Johnson

Dr. Vess Johnson, assistant professor of business information systems at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, has recently been appointed the Harper W. Boyd Professor of Excellence for 2020.

The Boyd Professor of Excellence was established to recognize a professor for his or her distinction as a scholar, a teacher, and a leader in the college, university, and community.

“I’m so very pleased to have been named the Boyd Professor of Excellence,” Johnson said. “It’s given to a professor that has a very strong research record over the past year, so it’s a great honor for any professor within the College of Business.”

Johnson has a distinguished research record in the area of data analytics and continues to develop that stream of research and others. He teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses with all modalities of face-to-face, online, and hybrid with consistently high instruction evaluations. Johnson has been active in service to the college and department and readily takes on new projects.

“Dr. Johnson is a valued and esteemed faculty member,” said Dr. Jane Wayland, dean of the College of Business. “He consistently publishes in top journals in his field and works collaboratively with other faculty. He is innovative in teaching students and works diligently for their success. His background in the private technology sector has a positive impact on both his teaching and research.”

Johnson’s most long-term research project is the annual Information Technology Issues and Trends Study conducted by the Society of Information Management. Involved in the project since 2013, Johnson is part of a research team that surveys approximately 5,000 chief information officers and IT leaders at companies in the United States.

He is also conducting a study of job postings from major employment companies in the U.S. to determine the true skill set needed to be hired for a job in a high-tech industry. His goal is to use the data to adjust college curriculum to better prepare graduates for the job market.

“There tends to be a disconnect between jobs, job postings, and individuals trying to get jobs,” Johnson said. “Job postings are often more of a wish list of skills that no one individual will have. The filtering software used by companies prevents qualified candidates from getting to hiring managers. So, the result is that companies have trouble finding talent, and individuals have a hard time finding jobs.”

Johnson attended Mississippi State University and received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, and a master’s degree in computer science. He earned a Ph.D. in business computer information systems from the University of North Texas.

Prior to returning to academia, he served as the president and CEO of multiple companies in a professional career spanning more than 20 years. His work has appeared in journals including MIS Quarterly Executive, Information and Management, Communications of the ACM, Computers in Human Behavior, European Journal of Information Systems, and The Journal of Computer Information Systems.

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