The Perfect Pick

Pamela Scott-Johnson is a
different type of leader.

The resume is all there: A doctorate in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton University; eight years in the private sector as a research scientist at Kraft; academic leadership roles at Morgan State University and California State University, Los Angeles, where she was the dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences; and an expert at getting government grants.

But if you ask Pamela Scott-Johnson, who started as the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs in August, the training she needed for the job started long before she got a bachelor’s degree at Spelman College or a high school diploma in South Carolina. It started with the lessons learned from her parents—both of whom were educators with a master’s degree.

It wasn’t the push they gave toward academics—and the watchful eye they had on her academic career. Sure, that helped, she said. But, rather, it was the eventual realization that all kids didn’t have the benefit of that upbringing.

“I’m not a first-generation college student,” she said.

She’s not. And she’s also a mom with two kids—one of whom is pursuing a doctorate. And doing it in a different way than she did.

“Kids today communicate in different ways than we did,” she said. “Their voices are different. How they find their voices is different. We need to help them find their voices.”

If you’re thinking Monmouth has hired a different type of leader, you’re right. Scott Johnson understands that the relationship between a teacher and a student, a school and a student, and the world and a student is changing rapidly. That makes her the perfect pick for the job.

A version of this article originally appeared in ROI-NJ. It is reprinted here with permission.