Chancellor Johnson talks with the Providence Business News
1. In your April inaugural address, you spoke about creating a workforce that is ready for jobs that don’t exist. How can a university prepare students for the unknown? Our curriculum values knowledge and the power of learning. It gives students four essential skills that can’t be done by robots: Empathy, social and emotional intelligence, divergent thinking and an entrepreneurial outlook.
An entrepreneurial outlook is not about becoming an entrepreneur, but about constantly seeking ways to add and create value. … At Morehouse College, when I was being taught to think critically and to solve problems, I was not being taught to seek ways to add and create new value.
2. The interactive media design program you championed put Becker College on the map. Do you want to create a similar flagship program for UMass Dartmouth? We’re going to be building part of our brand in the blue economy. We envision a corridor down I-195 that goes from Providence all the way to the Cape. This region will become a hub for things that are blue in nature: wind energy, water energy, sustainability, marine science, environmental science.
3. How did you appeal to interactive media companies to come work with you at Becker College? How will those lessons translate to UMass Dartmouth? The idea with the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute was to create an ecosystem within the digital game space in Worcester [Mass.]. … My goal would be to create such an ecosystem here centered around the blue economy.
4. What does UMass Dartmouth have to contribute to maritime businesses? What steps have you taken already to set up UMass Dartmouth as a contributor to the blue economy? UMass Dartmouth is a tier-one research university. Because of the research apparatus we have, we can bring solutions. We did a symposium [recently]. What came out of that was a white paper … about how we will create this environment that will capitalize on all the things that we have as an institution.
5. What is the importance of a four-year degree, in terms of molding entrepreneurial students? A four-year degree teaches one to be a lifelong learner and prepare for the future of work. UMass Dartmouth has the balance of the liberal arts and the professional schools. Graduates are going to be lifelong learners, seeking ways to add and create new value.