The University of West Georgia’s Richards College of Business has recently welcomed a new dean. Dr. Christopher Johnson, former associate dean at the University of North Florida, is gearing up for his first semester as dean of the Richards College of Business at UWG. Earning a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama, Johnson has always been familiar with the college scene.
“When I was in college, I actually was aspiring to be a college professor. That was my goal,” said Johnson. “I always loved college and that time when young people were finding themselves, and I knew I always wanted to be on a college campus.”
In 2013 Johnson had the opportunity to become an administrator at The University of North Florida (UNF). “The opportunity to be an administrator opened more doors for me than I could get as a professor,” said Johnson. “Although I wasn’t in the classroom as much, I was one of the decision-makers and could have a larger impact on the direction we were sending our students.”
His time as an administrator led him to become associate dean of the “Coggin” College of Business at UNF and further develop his leadership skills, broadening his knowledge of how to manage a school of education at the university level. “That led to my interest in becoming a dean of a college of business,” Johnson elaborated. “Then the opportunity came open at West Georgia, and I decided to ‘Go West!’”
The new dean looks forward to pushing students to pursue big endeavors in business and life and to using his experience to help students discover they’re entrepreneurial mindsets, whatever they may be. “Our college faculty know how business works, and we want to teach students how to tap into that entrepreneurial mindset,” said Johnson. “We have a duty to help elevate the economic vitality of the region in which we serve. We do that by engaging our faculty and centers such as our Small Business Development Center.”
Johnson will provide his expertise in the industry to help students fulfill their dreams and become successful in whatever field they choose, whether it is starting their own business, being a good employee, or being a good educator. “I think it is important for us to have an impact on the regional community and ensure we provide talent to meet workforce demands,” Johnson said.
Johnson wants to reimagine the way the Richards College of Business works, not only to help grow the college, but also to help students prepare for the professional workforce, whether it be starting their own businesses, or working for an existing business to help it grow. “We want to establish a pipeline of talent not only to help students find jobs, but for them to provide strategic help to businesses where they can make a real impact,” said Johnson.
“We all, the local community, benefit if we keep our talent in this area. We want to teach them how to help business, and we would love to keep our talent local to help our local businesses.”
A new chapter is starting at the Richards College of Business. With the upcoming opening of Roy Richards Sr. Hall, a brand new think-tank that has been under construction since 2019, Johnson and staff will further propel the students of UWG to boldly go into the future, not only for business, but for the university as a whole.