On May 26, 2022, Michael Johnson-Cramer was appointed as the new dean of the Ithaca College School of Business and began his new position on July 1, 2022.
Prior to coming to Ithaca College, Johnson-Cramer was a professor of management at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Additionally, he served as the dean of business at the McCallum Graduate School of Business at Bentley University from 2019–20.
Staff writer Jadyn Davis spoke with Johnson-Cramer about what he hopes to accomplish as dean of the Ithaca College School of Business and how his past leadership experiences have prepared him for his role.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Jadyn Davis: How does it feel to be appointed as the new dean of the Ithaca College School of Business?
Michael Johnson-Cramer: It’s really exciting. I have admired Ithaca College for a long time, and I’ve particularly admired the faculty … you watch them from a distance and you see how engaged they are with students. I spent 14 years of my career at a very similar institution that was so student-centered, and so coming to Ithaca is like coming home to a place where students are the reason you get up in the morning.
JD: What initially drew you to Ithaca College?
MC: The student-centeredness of it, and the culture of really engaging with students. The other piece that I think really drew me here was the history and background of the college … [There’s] a really sort of rich learning environment to be a part of and to be a dean, and so that’s a big part of what I’ve admired and what, as I’ve come to understand, is the underlying principles behind it. It just fits with my sense of how students and faculty learn together.
JD: How do you think your past experiences in multiple leadership roles will help you as dean?
MC: I’ve had a number of past experiences even as a faculty member leading a curriculum review, up to being in the dean’s office at two different institutions. So I have a bit of a bifurcated experience that I think is going to serve me well because of some of the things that we deal with at the college level. I hope I can be a good voice in some of those conversations and support them with their vision for the college. … It is important to be thinking about how a dean can be a part of the educational conversation and support individual faculty and mentor individual faculty and engage with students that will come from that smaller school experience.
JD: What do you think you’ll bring to the School of Business as dean?
MC: One of my central passions is for interdisciplinary. It’s for crossing what used to be silos in business. I think the passion that I have for interdisciplinary also tells me that those business problems that private, for-profit companies are wrestling with could benefit from an understanding of wellness or health care policy could benefit from a little more creativity or an appreciation for how people are different and the cultures.
JD: How will you be an advocate for students in the school?
MC: [Ithaca College] students seem to be pretty powerful advocates for themselves. Student leaders are finding their voice, … but what I can do is work with students and faculty to co-create a great learning community. A key component will be hearing [from] and engaging [with] students. The best way I can advocate for students is to offer them a platform, formal and informal channels, to advocate for themselves. I can’t wait to see what we come up with together.