Chief academic officer steps up to the role
Abby Epstein – Reporter
After fourteen years at the same institution, Beth Johnson, the current Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Post University has applied to be the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Southern.
“When I decided I wanted to go into a different a type of teaching and learning, I started looking at the Connecticut public school system,” Johnson said, “and when this position came open and I read the mission for Southern, I really wanted to be a part of it.”
The quality of academics, providing educational access and emphasis on social justice are the three main points she said stuck out to her about Southern’s mission statement.
“What’s really awesome is social justice.” said Johnson. “It truly isn’t just words on the front of the catalog, but President Joe has you guys living that and that’s unusual.”
Johnson got involved with online classes where she was able to design the online courses and teach courses using Blackboard.
“I feel like [with] the experience I bring from Post around online education and all the hybrid course that you [Southern] has I can help with that,” said Johnson.
Johnson said she is passionate about online education but what she really enjoys is when students receive the access needed for education. “The idea [that] a student [who] wouldn’t otherwise have access to education is able to go to school that feeds my soul,” she said. “It gets me so excited.” Johnson said she believes she can bring how she thinks innovatively about education to Southern.
“I love looking at different ways to learn whether it’s on the online modality, whether it’s using a cool new app, and integrating those into that experience for the students is huge to me,” said Johnson.
She said she feels she would be able to bring some of the online modality and new ways to learn into the curriculum design and that she can bring her experience of being on the inside of the business of education.
“Looking at that business piece,” she said, “people on the receiving end of decisions don’t necessarily know why those decisions were made, and when you have been on the inside of that Business of Education you understand where the marketing is coming from.
Johnson said she wants people to see that before someone becomes a student they are part of this recruitment process of trying to get students to attend the University.
“The minute you are here you’re gold” she said, “You’re just so important to the University, and they are so excited to have you here.”
She said she is pretty good at helping people who do not deal with the recruitment process to find students. She helps them understand why students become so important to the university and why certain decisions are made within the business of education.
Over the last four years Johnson has been working on strategies to ensure student’s success.
“The fun part about it is all the work I’ve been able to do within academic affairs across our department,” she said, “but also the cross department and collaboration with the business side of the university.”