ORG CHART: Joanna Johnson to Lead Writing Center


  • Joanna Johnson, Writing Center
  • Heather Hunter, Aggie Athletics
  • Lucas Griffith, Finance, Operations and Administration
  • Dianne Jensen, city of Davis

Joanna Johnson has been named the inaugural associate vice provost of the Writing Center that opened last fall in the new Teaching and Learning Complex. She is due to join UC Davis July 1, leaving the University of Miami where she joined the writing program faculty in 2000 and rose to the position of program director.

Joanna Johnson headshot, UC Davis faculty
Joanna Johnson

The program subsequently became the Department of Writing Studies, including the university’s First-Year and Scientific writing programs and three writing centers.

“Joanna has the perfect blend of skills and experience to step in as the first leader of the UC Davis Writing Center,” said Michael Bradford, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Education. “As an inaugural director of a highly successful universitywide writing program at the University of Miami, Joanna brings a deep understanding of what it takes to achieve our ambitious and bold vision. We are excited to welcome her to the Aggie family.”

Johnson, an associate professor at Miami, holds a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from the Open University in the United Kingdom, a Master of Arts in English from the University of Miami and a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Essex.

She will provide strategic vision and guidance to the Writing Center, which provides student-facing services, peer mentoring, faculty-focused workshops and resources for instructors delivering the university’s writing curriculum, including amplifying efforts in Writing Across the Curriculum and Writing in the Disciplines.

“This is a threshold moment in the establishment of the university’s first writing center,” said John Marx, interim director of the University Writing Center and vice provost of academic planning for Aggie Square. “Joanna is someone who will embrace the opportunity to build the Writing Center in collaboration with faculty and staff from across UC Davis, all of whom are aligned in their mission to meet the needs of our diverse students.”

Since its opening, the Writing Center has seen considerable student interest in writing consultation. Its focus is supporting students across the campus, advancing efforts toward closing gaps in academic outcomes and supporting equitable success for students, including those from underrepresented, first-generation and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. The Writing Center came about after task forces formed by the Academic Senate and the Office of the Provost called for centralization of writing services.

“UC Davis is a leader in recognizing the importance of writing across the curriculum and professions,” Johnson said. “This is an extraordinary opportunity to build on that recognition and track record to explore ways to serve students, faculty, and the community. I'm looking forward to joining the UC Davis family and learning how we can best do that.”

Johnson has held administrative roles with increasing responsibility in the University of Miami’s writing program since 2005 and has also led the university’s Scientific Writing Program since 2016. She has delivered numerous presentations, participated on panels discussing writing across the curriculum, and delivered workshops on scientific writing and grant application writing.

She has taught graduate and undergraduate research and writing courses, including graduate research ethics and pedagogy, undergraduate business communication, composition, research paper and professional communication, literature and writing in STEM. She also taught special topics courses in first-year writing, among them “Gender, Competition and Sport,” “The Wire,” “Breaking Bad” and “From Lagos to London: Postcolonial Writing.” Johnson’s publications include the book Topographies of Caribbean Writing, Race and the British Countryside and literary criticism published in several journals.

Heather Hunter has joined UC Davis Athletics as senior associate athletics director. She had been, since 2017, the executive director of the university’s Preferred Partnership Program, or UP3, and before that the associate executive director and chief revenue officer for the Cal Aggie Alumni Association since 2015.

Heather Hunter
Heather Hunter

“With over 25 years of experience in athletics and higher education ... she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table,” Director of Athletics Rocko DeLuca said in announcing Hunter’s appointment. Besides serving as senior associate athletics director, she holds the title “senior woman administrator,” a position required by the NCAA at all its member schools.

Hunter is a UC Davis graduate (double major in American studies and psychology) and a 2003 inductee into the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame, having been a four-year letter winner in softball. She was an assistant softball coach for the Aggies for two seasons, managing the recruiting program. She was a member of the UC Davis Athletics Board from 2017 to 2022.

“UC Davis Athletics is my unwavering passion, and I am excited to serve our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” she was quoted as saying in the announcement.

In addition to her undergraduate degree from UC Davis, she earned a master’s degree in sports management from the University of San Francisco and a doctorate in educational leadership and innovation from the University of the Pacific.

She began her career at UC Berkeley, as a marketing coordinator for Cal Athletics. She later worked for GMR Marketing, where she led the $25 million North America and Latin America sports sponsorship portfolio for the business software company SAP; and Sharks Sports and Entertainment, parent company of the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League, where she led the sponsorship service team in its management of more than 100 corporate partners.

Lucas Griffith ’00 has been appointed interim lead of Campus Planning and Environmental Stewardship, stepping in for Associate Vice Chancellor Bob Segar, who is retiring at the end of June. Campus Planning and Environmental Stewardship comprises the Arboretum and Public Garden, Campus Planning, Environmental Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Services.

Lucas Griffith
Lucas Griffith

Clare Shinnerl, vice chancellor for Finance, Operations and Administration, announced Griffith’s appointment as interim assistant vice chancellor April 6. “I’ve asked Lucas and Bob to work closely together so that additional knowledge transfer occurs before Bob’s June 28, 2023, departure,” Shinnerl said in a letter to her division.

Griffith majored in landscape architecture as an undergrad at UC Davis and returned to his alma mater as the director of Campus Planning in 2014, after having worked as an urban designer for the San Francisco Presidio Trust. He holds a master’s degree from UC Berkeley and a doctorate in societal safety and risk management from the University of Stavanger, Norway.

Segar joined UC Davis as campus planner in 1989 and served in that position until 2009 when he was named associate vice chancellor of Campus Planning and Community Resources, which later became Campus Planning and Environmental Stewardship. He is now serving as the planning director for Aggie Square.

Finance, Operations and Administration is preparing a story on Segar’s tenure with the university, and Dateline will carry that coverage. He will also be sitting down for the May episode of Face to Face With Chancellor May.

The city of Davis announced the appointment of UC Davis alumna Dianna Jensen to the dual role of director of Public Works Engineering and Transportation, and city engineer, the first woman in the history of the city to serve in this capacity.

Dianna Jensen headshot, UC Davis alumna
Dianna Jensen

She is a two-time graduate of the College of Engineering: Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering (1991) and Master of Science in civil and environmental engineering (1994).

She has worked for the city of Davis a total of 14 years, starting in 2007 as an associate civil engineer in the Engineering Division, overseeing projects and working with contractors, consulting engineers and members of the public. From there, she worked in the Water Operations Division as a senior civil engineer before being promoted to principal civil engineer, managing the division.

She left the city for a short period of time to work for a private water quality firm based in the United Kingdom before returning to Davis as city engineer in 2016, and had been serving as the acting director of Public Works Engineering and Transportation since Bob Clarke retired last December.

Read more about Jensen in this city of Davis news release.

Dateline UC Davis welcomes news of appointments of various kinds for faculty and staff, for publication in Org Chart (formerly titled Transitions). Send information to

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Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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