Oakton Names New Chief Human Resources Officer and Vice President for Administrative Affairs

Johanna Fine joins Oakton as the new CHRO and Michele Roberts as the new VP for Administrative Affairs.

Des Plaines, Ill. (Jan. 26, 2024) –Oakton College proudly announces the appointments of Johanna Fine as the chief Human Resources officer (CHRO) and Michele Roberts as the vice president for Administrative Affairs. Oakton’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the hires of both individuals at its Jan. 16 meeting. Fine and Roberts will join the College in their new roles on Jan. 29 and Feb. 12, respectively.   

“Oakton College is thrilled to welcome two extremely qualified professionals to serve in key leadership roles,” said Joianne L. Smith, Ph.D., Oakton’s president. “I’m confident both Ms.Fine’s and Ms. Robert’s skills and expertise will help Oakton persist in its commitment to building just and thriving communities.”

Fine brings a wealth of diverse experience, most recently having served as the chief Human Resources officer for JCC Chicago and as an HR consultant for the Carolyn Brand Group. She holds a bachelor's degree in Speech Communications from Indiana University and several post-baccalaureate certificates, including in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Fine is also a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).

In her role as CHRO at Oakton, Fine will lead strategic HR initiatives, emphasizing regulatory compliance, recruitment, performance management, employee development and equity programs. Her pivotal role is instrumental in cultivating a people-centered culture and shaping equity-minded policies for talent acquisition and retention.

“I am excited to be part of Oakton for several reasons,” said Fine. “Growing up in Evanston and being familiar with Oakton through connections, I have heard commendable things about the extensive educational opportunities, quality faculty, and affordability for students. Additionally, as a lifelong learner who has pursued multiple certifications, I strongly resonate with Oakton's mission of providing accessible and affordable education throughout people's lives, whether degree-based, certification, or continuing education.”

Bringing a robust background in higher education finance, Roberts recently managed a $130 million annual operating fund portfolio as the vice chancellor of Administration and Finance for the Ivy Tech Community College system. Overseeing four campuses, she led the finance, HR, facilities and IT departments. Roberts holds a bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Iowa, a bachelor's degree in Accounting from Western Governor's University, and a Juris Doctorate and an MBA from Indiana University.

In her role at Oakton, Roberts will oversee business and finance functions, encompassing budget services, purchasing, facilities, police, emergency management, risk management, auxiliary services and IT. Additionally, she will offer strategic analysis and counsel for the College's business operations, supporting multi-year planning.

“As a lifelong learner, I am excited to continue utilizing my passion for learning to pursue the goal of making educational opportunities accessible to anyone seeking them,” said Roberts. “Having dedicated the past eight years to higher education roles in the state of Indiana, I eagerly anticipate returning to my home state to further this important work. My past experiences allow me to leverage best practices and maintain established relationships with higher education leaders across the country, which I believe will be critical to success in my new role.”