Robert E. Johnson, President, Western New England University
Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D., took office as the Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth on July 1, 2017. He believes higher education is a public good, and has dedicated his more-than- 25-year career to transforming the lives of young people. He challenges students to build upon the three pillars of global citizenship—academic excellence, social responsibility, and creative expression—to embrace the opportunities inherent in a complex and hyper-connected world. It is his conviction that college graduates must be prepared to adapt and succeed in a dynamic future—one where jobs as we know them may no longer exist, career mobility is the norm, and individuals are responsible for their brand and their business model, and must continuously build their [future] value.
Previously, Dr. Johnson was the President of Becker College, where he encouraged the growth and change of the institution through a myriad of initiatives. In 2011, Becker was designated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as home to the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI), a first-in- the-nation center that connects the state’s digital games industry, government, and academic resources to promote job growth and entrepreneurship. Also that year, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick appointed Dr. Johnson to the board of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a state agency that promotes technology sector growth through industry, academia, and state government partnerships. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker described Becker as: “an example of growth in the ‘creative economy’ . . . one of the country’s leading . . . educational institutions for computer gaming” (Worcester Business Journal, April 10, 2015). In 2014, via participation in the American Council on Education’s Internationalization Laboratory, the College developed a global engagement strategy to establish global citizenship as a key attribute of a Becker education. In 2015, the College was designated as the first Yunus Social Business Centre in the U.S. The Yunus Social Business Centre @ Becker College provides opportunities for individuals to solve world problems by creating self-sustaining business solutions that have social impact. In 2016, Becker College became the first college or university in the country to mandate a 100 percent impact strategy across its entire endowment, with a HIP (Human Impact + Profits) rating of greater than 50 percent on a scale of 0-100.
Dr. Johnson was appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education in 2015. He is a member of the Council on Competitiveness, a nonpartisan policy organization of chief executives, university presidents, and labor leaders, and serves on the boards of a number of state and local organizations. As a speaker, he has addressed organizations across the country on topics including leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship, among others.
A native of Detroit, Mich., Dr. Johnson holds a doctorate in higher education administration from Touro University International, formerly a division of Touro College, New York; a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Cincinnati; and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Morehouse College. Prior to becoming Becker College’s president, Dr. Johnson served as senior vice president of Sinclair Community College, in Dayton, Ohio; vice president of enrollment management at the University of Dayton; vice provost at Oakland University, Rochester, Mich.; and executive director of enrollment management at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. He is married to Michelle Jones-Johnson. They have two children, Jasmine and Alex.
Follow Dr. Johnson online at the Huffington Post, and on Twitter at @BeckerPrez. He curates the Flipboard magazine, Educating for the Agile Mindset, as @drrobertjohnson.