Dr. Robert E. Johnson

Chapter 6

The Future is Now: Educating Students to Thrive in a Volatile,
Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous World

  • Dr. Robert E. Johnson President, Becker College

Chapter Overview

Educational malpractice is what colleges and universities are committing today when they do not adequately prepare graduates for a world that is constantly evolving and changing. Welcome to the VUCA world—Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous.

Arguably, the value of a college degree remains strong, particularly in lifetime earnings. But our collective responsibility in educating students must be to help them understand that in today’s society they must be adaptive, nimble, and entrepreneurial. We are educating young people today for jobs that do not yet exist, to solve problems we have yet to identify. Unlike past generations, our graduates must be job creators who are innovative leaders in this VUCA environment, capable of reinventing themselves throughout their professional careers and adapting to change.

It is also imperative that they have a global perspective. Possessing that view is not optional; it is required in order to understand their relationship within a global society, so they can thrive as citizens of the world in a global marketplace. Colleges and universities must prepare students for this VUCA and global world so when they end their educational journey, they are well-prepared to survive and thrive on a more critical and challenging journey.

Is your institution committing educational malpractice? Do you have a plan to produce graduates for a VUCA world? In his chapter, Dr. Johnson explains the importance of creating an agile mindset and elaborates on the four skills sets needed for students to prosper in the future.

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