Summer 2020

‘We’re Equipping Our Students to Thrive Amid Uncertainty’

As Babson College re-creates its organizational model in alignment with its strategic plan, two prominent leaders have new positions: Ken Matsuno is The Murata Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, and Lawrence P. Ward is the new vice president for learner success and dean of campus life. We recently caught up with both of them as they embark on their new roles.

Here, Matsuno shares his thoughts and visions on Babson’s academic enterprise, including how the College is maintaining academic standards and accelerating its plans, and what he’s learned about the Babson community this year:

Read our Q&A with Lawrence P. Ward, vice president for learner success and dean of campus life.

In your new role, what are your primary focal points and objectives?

“My primary objective is to lead our academic enterprise, including faculty administration and development, both the evolution and innovation of curriculums and programs, and accreditation standards and processes. I’ll continue to work closely with our chairs and deans to advance new ideas and plans to enhance our academic operations and agility, and to improve efficiencies. I’m also excited to collaborate with Larry to support a more symbiotic relationship between the academic and student life experience.”

How is Babson accelerating its plans to deliver education where and when learners demand it?

“Technology has fundamentally altered the way learning is experienced. We’re taking thoughtful and deliberate steps to respond to that change and reach learners where, when, and how they demand it through technology-enhanced offerings and personalized pathways that lead to a variety of credentials and competencies.”

How is Babson ensuring its high academic standards in remote and hybrid learning modes?

“We have been reconceptualizing and retooling our courses to capture the full potential of technology-enhanced learning, building on two decades of successful blended learning in the graduate programs and the fresh lessons learned from our virtual campus experience this spring and summer. Our faculty have spent the summer participating in an intensive online teaching training program, developing techniques and delivery strategies to enhance the hybrid and online learning environment, and redesigning courses to be more accessible, creative, and impactful. We’ve invested in hardware and software that will improve the virtual classroom experience and facilitate more seamless class discussion. These efforts have the simultaneous benefit of preparing us for the fall semester and reinvigorating curriculum and pedagogy.”

What have you learned about the Babson community this year?

“This year has reinforced the importance of what Babson teaches and what we pioneered for many years. We’re equipping our students to thrive amid uncertainty and unknowability, and to see challenges as opportunities, in a way that will prepare them for anything the world throws their way. Those skills extend to our faculty and staff. I think we saw entrepreneurial leadership in action this year in a way we have rarely seen before. We didn’t look for it, but the circumstances demanded it, and the Babson community responded. I’ve learned that even at 100 years old, Babson can continue to grow and evolve in extraordinary ways, and I have been reminded again and again that our global community is truly remarkable.”

What advice do you have for students returning this fall?

“Embrace unfamiliarity. Be open to change and prepared to learn and engage in new ways.”

Posted in Community

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