SUNY Canton Learning Commons Executive Director Builds Upon Student Experience


A SUNY Canton administrator and alumna plans to expand upon the exceptional student opportunities available through the college’s premiere educational resource center.

Johanna M. Lee was recently promoted to the executive director of the Learning Commons, which includes the Betty J. Evans Tutoring Center and the Southworth Library. The concept of the Learning Commons was formalized in 2010 under the direction of retired Associate Provost Molly A. Mott, and serves as the campus hub for scholarly research, resources, technology, and opportunities for collaboration that support learning and retention.

Johanna Lee works with a student in the Learning Commons.

“I was really excited when the tutoring center became part of the Learning Commons,” Lee said. “Prior to the move, tutoring was scattered across the campus in a number of locations. I want to continue to build on the tremendous potential of the Learning Commons concept model initiated by Dr. Mott.”

Lee began her career in 2010 as a tutor coordinator. She was previously promoted to director of tutoring services and the chair for non-academic assessment. She fondly recalled her own time in the Southworth library when she was a student studying in the Liberal Arts: General Studies program.

“I loved to study in the library,” she said. “It felt like home to me. My favorite places were the study rooms with those huge windows. I also used the Writing Center, which was then located where the Cyber Café is now. The campus has changed a lot and so has this building.”

She earned her SUNY Canton degree in 1997 and went on to earn her bachelor’s from SUNY Cortland, and master’s from St. Lawrence University.

The future of the Learning Commons includes working to engage students through both virtual and face-to-face platforms. Lee plans on adding more accessibility through the existing textbook loan program, open educational resources, and enhanced technology.

“Perhaps most importantly, we will provide increased access to our growing online student population to help them connect with us and help them feel like part of the campus community,” Lee said.

Above all, student success is Lee’s top priority. She said she is most inspired by watching a student discover their academic strengths through tutoring or hearing the joy in a student’s voice when they learn that they can borrow a textbook that they cannot afford.

“Student interaction is at the heart of what I do,” Lee said. “In my new role I will continue to do my best to make decisions that are in the interests of students because they are the best part of my work.”

Lee lives in Canton with her partner, Mike, and two sons, Rylan and Ashton. 

About SUNY Canton

Discover SUNY Canton, where innovation meets opportunity. The college’s career-focused educational programs emphasize hands-on and applied learning opportunities in digital design, engineering technology, health, information technology, management, public service, and veterinary technology. Faculty members bring real-world experience and exceptional academic expertise to the classroom. As a leader in online education, SUNY Canton offers unmatched flexibility with hundreds of courses and 23 comprehensive degree programs offered completely online. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos compete at the NCAA Division III level and will be transitioning to the SUNYAC in Fall 2024. In addition to its 15 traditional teams, SUNY Canton offers coed varsity esports and cheerleading.