PowerPlayer: Becker College President Dr. Robert Johnson
This article was originally published in GoLocalWorcester.
This week's PowerPlayer is Becker College President Dr. Robert Johnson. He tells us how he's preparing Becker students to compete in a global society.
What are your top priorities for Becker College in 2012?
Among my top priorities is to evolve the infrastructure at Becker College to ensure that we can meet the challenges of the “new normal” in the higher education marketplace. A key element is to promote nationally our Princeton Review top 10-ranked computer game design program; our animal studies division, which ranked #1 in New England and #15 nationally amongst private colleges and universities in awarding undergraduate animal studies degrees in 2010-2011; and our nursing program, which ranks #7 in Massachusetts for our institutional NCLEX pass rate.
How are you preparing students to become global citizens?
In my first months as president, in 2010, I challenged Becker College to educate students who can compete in a global society by organizing its strong academic programs and culture of community service around the three pillars of Global Citizenship: academic excellence, social responsibility, and creative expression. It has become part of our core values and is instilled in the curricula that faculty teach, the focus of our student-athletes on academics and service, and the partnerships the college develops within the community.
What new programs will Becker offer this year?
The college is developing a number of certificate programs that address emergent issues in today’s society, to prepare professionals for new careers or advancement in their current fields. Working adults can complete these programs online, through our Center for Accelerated & Professional Studies. We have launched certificate programs in game design, drug and alcohol counseling, and applied behavior analysis.
In late summer, we will also open the doors to a new 35,727-square-foot campus center on our Leicester campus, which will support and enhance the whole student experience, from increased study space and multi-media lounge, to a state-of-the-art fitness center.
What lessons do you try to teach the students?
It is not sufficient for students to merely seek personal and professional success, but also to contribute to a greater good; to transform the world and make a difference. At Becker College, the lessons we teach are guided by a fundamental set of core values: excellence, accountability, community and diversity, social responsibility, integrity, and creative expression.
What lessons have the students taught you?
I am inspired by our students. In spite of the turmoil in the world, this generation can and will rise to meet the needs of the present age. I can talk about student after student and what they are doing or have done. We have great students, and I am inspired by their enthusiasm.
What will Becker look like in five years?
In five years, Becker College will enroll 2,500 to 3,000 students (we have nearly 1,800 now); we will offer master’s degrees; we will be a nationally recognized baccalaureate institution; and our signature programs—interactive entertainment, animal studies, nursing, and criminal justice—will have international reputations. Furthermore, every Becker College student will graduate with a global citizenship portfolio and a strong personal brand.
How do you plan on changing Becker for the better?
The Becker community shares a vision for the college to become a nationally recognized baccalaureate institution, renowned for its values and for its focus on delivering to the world highly educated, responsible citizens, prepared to contribute to a global society and rise to the top of their chosen professions.