A Q&A with Quinton Johnson
In November, Quinton Johnson joined the Division of Institutional Integrity and Risk Management as the university's export control officer. In this role, he will work closely with faculty and staff to train and support individuals engaged in research and international transactions. We spoke with Johnson to learn about his experiences with and the importance of export controls.
What are export controls?
Export controls are a series of laws and regulations based on international treaties and domestic policies that restrict the dissemination of certain technologies and information.
Why is this role so vital at a research university?
Research universities receive a majority of their support from federal funding agencies. It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that those taxpayer funds are utilized responsibly and ethically. Export control laws and regulations were primarily developed to curb the proliferation of weapons across the world. It is not always obvious how new technologies and inventions may be used. Export control officers are constantly reading the applicable regulations, working with government and industry partners, and reviewing new research awards to help identify and control new information or technology that might have the potential to be used nefariously.
What did you do before coming to UNC and how will you apply skills from that time here?
Most recently, I led the export controls compliance effort at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond. I was the first person to lead that effort, and I knew from the beginning that I wanted it to be as collaborative as possible. My goal at UNC is to provide support and answers when needed, with the overarching aim of reducing compliance burden. I plan to use the lessons learned from building a program at VCU to develop a process at UNC that is integrated and imbedded in current policy and procedure so that our program enhances rather than hinders our faculty, staff, and students' research and academic efforts.
Why and when in the research process should researchers reach out to you?
My "zoom" door is always open and my calendar up to date. Anytime anyone has a question about what export compliance is or how it may impact them or their department, I am happy to chat. If you would like a basic review of UNC's policies and procedures, you can also visit the Division of Institutional Integrity and Risk Management webpage or contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are officially a Tar Heel now. What's your favorite part so far about being a member of this community?
My co-workers have been amazing. I had so many people voluntarily reach out to help orient me within the university. I am only in my third week, but I already feel like a part of the team. I truly am excited to contribute to the research and academic efforts of this world-renowned institution.