Biography: Dr. Robert E. Johnson

Dr. Robert E. Johnson, Chancellor, UMass Dartmouth - vertical portrait - low resolution for WEB

Dr. Robert E. Johnson is Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, a Tier 1 national research university offering a private college educational experience and public university value. Dr. Johnson previously served seven years as president of Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts, and has dedicated a quarter century of his life ensuring access to higher education.

A frequent presenter and commentator on issues related to the future of work, Dr. Johnson believes a college education must foster an "Agile Mind," enabling students to develop divergent thinking, social and emotional intelligence, empathy, and an entrepreneurial outlook. A college education should nurture the uniquely human capacities that cannot be replicated by technology and lay the foundation for graduates to add and create value in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world.

A native of Detroit, Dr. Johnson was inspired to attend Morehouse College by his late uncle Robert E. Johnson, who was the Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of JET Magazine. His late uncle, who was a classmate of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., encouraged Johnson’s commitment to service and transforming the next generation of leaders. This influenced Dr. Johnson’s fundamental belief that humanity, civil discourse, and civility must be at the core of all things we do. As engaged and educated citizens on a planet with more than 7 billion people, we have social responsibility to inspire the next generation of leaders to transform the world.

Dr. Johnson is a member of the Council on Competitiveness and served as a member of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, vice chair of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and chair of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the executive committee of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable.

At Becker, Dr. Johnson led the evolution of the college into an adaptive, nimble, and entrepreneurial institution that is a model for colleges and universities across the United States. Prior to becoming Becker College’s president, Dr. Johnson served as senior vice president of Sinclair Community College, vice president of enrollment management at the University of Dayton, vice provost at Oakland University and executive director of enrollment management at Central State University.

UMass Dartmouth is a Tier 1 national research university located on 710 acres of the scenic south coast of Massachusetts. With nearly 9,000 students in undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs, and a 400-member faculty that annually produces $27 million in research activity, UMass Dartmouth is the only Massachusetts research university south of Boston and generates nearly $500 million of economic activity in the region. UMass Dartmouth is home to the Commonwealth’s only public law school and is a national Top 20 university for civic engagement, annually contributing more than 240,000 hours of community service valued at more than $6 million. The university has 50,000 alumni, three quarters living in Massachusetts and half living in southeastern Massachusetts and on Cape Cod.

Leadership Philosophy

 Leadership Philosophy

Chancellor Robert E. Johnson introduced to UMass Dartmouth community by UMass President Marty Meehan. Video credit: Dartmouth Community TV

We’re going to put our students first, because that is what we are here for.

Dr. Robert E. Johnson

Learn more about Chancellor Johnson's views on higher education and leadership at: