New dean has sights set on opportunities

New dean has sights set on opportunities

On July 1, Dr. Scott Johnson became the new dean of the School of Business, Computer Science & Information Technology at Heidelberg. He’ll also hold the Adams Family Endowed Chair and serve as a professor of management.

Dr. Johnson brings many years of higher education experience and leadership, including time in Spain and the United Kingdom, and international scholarly contributions. He also has experience in the world of business and is passionate about creating a successful integration of the liberal arts with professional programs.

Prior to his selection as dean, Dr. Johnson was a full professor and the director of the business and accounting program at the College of Idaho for the past 5 years. He began his career in the business world, initially as a store manager with Baskin-Robbins and eventually with AT&T as an international manager and team leader.

Dr. Johnson earned his Ph.D. in business administration from Arizona State University and his MBA with an international business emphasis from the University of San Francisco. His bachelor’s degree in business administration is from California State University, Fresno.

“We look forward to Scott’s effective leadership of the School of Business, Computer Science & Information Technology in partnership with our faculty and academic leadership team,” said Provost Dr. Beth Schwartz. “His record of developing and delivering new curricular and co-curricular programs and experience with student-centered strategic planning will serve us well in the upcoming years.”

Prior to his arrival, we asked Dr. Johnson a few questions about his upcoming position and what he’s looking forward to about coming to Heidelberg and to Ohio.

Q: In general terms, what attracted you to this position?

A: From my academic experiences in several large university business schools, I was looking for the best opportunity to contribute toward student success in a smaller liberal arts institution driven primarily by excellent teaching and individualized support but also with an eye toward the future – keeping ahead of the rapidly changing world around us through strategic planning and professional preparation and development. The kind of place where everybody knows your name and uses those connections to push us all forward – no one hides in the shadows. So, I was intrigued to learn about the “Heidelberg Hi” – representing a friendly, welcoming community on the one hand, and the Strategic Action Plan with the Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence and the Academic Strategic Initiatives for Improvement Plan – including the new Center for Teaching Excellence – on the other. I was impressed by the written thoughts shared by President Huntington and Provost Schwartz, which underscored the need for working well together through values of trust and transparency.

With regard to the Dean’s position, the solid foundation of achievements by the ongoing and previous School of Business, Computer Science & Information Technology faculty and staff provide remarkable talent and resources for student success, starting with the support of the Adams Family Foundation for the recent Adams Hall renovation, and continuing with the PlusOneAdvantage® Full-Tuition MBA Scholarship, world-class standards affirmed through ACBSP accreditation and Delta Mu Delta international honor society, the invaluable Berg Business Board, community engagement initiatives like the Women’s Entrepreneurship Awards and Executive-in-Residence, and student organization and activities (including the Dean’s Student Advisory Board), and much more.

What I read about the university and the School of Business, Computer Science & Information Technology was compelling – and explained a lot of the What, Where, and When about Heidelberg – but I wanted to go beyond written words for a deeper sense of the HU experience that helps students realize their own Who, Why, and How. As simple as it sounds, I tapped into this core through the actual voices of current students and alumni as they shared their reasons for coming (and coming back) in videos posted to YouTube.

I found these unscripted, heartfelt, often emotional insights compelling.

Q: What were your first impressions of the Heidelberg campus?

A: Keep in mind that I first stepped foot on campus during the January polar vortex! It was challenging to see much of anything clearly through the windy, icy wetness. Fortunately, I had a good sense of the scenic beauty of the campus through online photos and videos on YouTube, as well as the interactive virtual tour (highly recommended for all prospective visitors). I enjoy the combination of historic character and modernized amenities with new discoveries around every bend of the path, it seems. I like exploring places on foot and walking for relaxation, so I circled the campus a few times through different routes on my return visit at the start of spring. It was green!

Q: What were your initial thoughts about the School of Business, Computer Science & Information Technology?

A: The School of Business, Computer Science & Information Technology has excellent people who are dedicated to teaching excellence and student success. During my first visit, I was impressed by the engaged professionalism of students that I met with during the Dean’s Student Advisory Board interview. On my return visit, I was able to connect more deeply with faculty and staff through a team-building session and individual meetings. The talent and energy our School of Business Computer Science & Information Technology people share with students is remarkable and bodes well for our continued success.

Q: And of the Tiffin community?

A: I had not known of Tiffin before this opportunity to join Heidelberg, but I learned quickly about the recent dynamic development efforts that are helping to transform downtown as the core of the entire community. During my first visit, I reached out to Mayor Aaron Montz to arrange a conversation, and he shared his inspiring ideas balancing economic improvement with livability and cultural arts. For Heidelberg students, the close proximity of downtown Tiffin allows them to enjoy dining and entertainment activities – but more importantly, it also presents a real-life, hands-on learning lab for them to become engaged in off-campus projects that address all aspects of community development (business as well as sociological, political, and natural resources impact, etc.). Mayor Montz and riverfront developer Ed Hernando – both Heidelberg alumni! – are eager to get more ’Berg students involved in the life of the city through projects.

Q: Given your broad base of industry and teaching/administration experience, what opportunities for growth come to mind initially for the School of Business, Computer Science & Information Technology?

A: Growth is about getting better, not simply bigger. Foremost, we want to grow stronger and smarter – to reinforce what makes HU special and differentiated, and amplify the message (brand) by sharing our stories that come from listening to, and learning, from our internal HU community, our students and alumni, and our external partners and supporters.

I achieved team-based success in global Fortune 500 companies, local family firms, and non-profit services through building long-term relationships among people with different skills (like marketing planners, engineers, artists, political leaders, and health-care providers) to jointly solve problems. At HU, I want to continue the same approach through collaborating across our schools, departments, centers, and programs, integrating our professional and liberal arts resources to identify cutting-edge opportunities for our students to achieve true world-class readiness. My primary approach is always to focus on our current strengths – identify what we do very well and leverage these for related opportunities.

Q: What experiences have most impacted your professional career and academic career?

A: Having started my business career in small, family-owned firms and backpacked across Europe before I graduated, entrepreneurship (especially community-focused business/social impact) and internationalization have driven my professional career and academic teaching and research. I want to discuss the possibilities with our resident School of Business, Computer Science & Information Technology experts (faculty, alumni, BBB) and the Office of International Affairs and Studies to learn how the school might help to attract more overseas students and possibly executives or other kinds of visitors, as well as further advance partnerships and consider whether additional offerings here would make sense. I echo International Director Julie Arnold’s desire that all Heidelberg students will have an international or off-campus learning experience.

Our local industry neighbors and supporters starting with National Machinery represent outstanding expertise in all aspects of manufacturing, including global supply chain and cross-cultural management practices. Reviewing the recipients of the School of Business, Computer Science & Information Technology’s Women Entrepreneur Awards program, as well as the many small business owners who have received Façade Enhancement (business improvement) Grants, much of Tiffin’s recent success is built on innovative for-profit and non-profit firms that invest in our community. Through the lessons we can learn from our neighbors, large and small, global and local, we can better prepare our students for life – not just their own, but the impact they have on the world around them and service to society as actively contributing global citizens.

Q: So, back to the first question about what attracted you to Heidelberg, any final thoughts?

A: Yes. Thinking like a prospective student who may be considering coming to Heidelberg, it is important to ask the right questions – the What, Where, When, Why, and How. I have learned that we do the WHAT extremely well at Heidelberg (solid business education and professional preparation integrated within a liberal arts learning community). The university mission (a community of learning that promotes and nurtures intellectual, personal and professional development, leading to a life of purpose with distinction) reinforces the HOW. The distinctiveness of programs and offerings such as HYPE Career Ready®, the American Junior Year abroad in partnership with the University of Heidelberg, the AIM Hei Mentoring Program, The Patricia Adams Lecture Series, the MLK Day of Service and related service-learning opportunities, internships and other support/resources through the Owen Academic & Career Support Center, the Minds@Work Student Research Conference and the PlusOne Advantage® Full-tuition MBA Scholarship will help you to embody lessons learned and new perspectives gained to set you apart as you pursue your WHY, helping you to discover, clarify and apply your strengths to your purpose driving you forward.

It is through living your life of purpose with distinction that you can achieve your best, differentiated, unique self – truly WHO you are. So, then the call to action becomes the WHERE and WHEN: clearly, the place is here at Heidelberg, and the time is now.

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