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It is week six of remote teaching and work. The impact of COVID-19 on the global economy and the resultant consequences on education is unprecedented in modern times. I am deeply saddened by the human suffering and misery that has accompanied the spread of COVID-19, and I hope fervently that this crisis ends soon so that we can get back to normal.

On a personal note, this lockdown has made me appreciate the value of human connection in a face-to-face setting, something that I had taken for granted. I miss the energy and optimism that I derived from those serendipitous hallway conversations that lead to aha moments, getting inspired by exchanges with students and interacting with the D’Amore-McKim community on a daily basis. Of course, I now also realize that harnessing the power of human connection in virtual settings is entirely possible, but planned spontaneity is key to fostering virtual connections. This feels very different and may take me some extra time to get used to it.

Beyond the feelings associated with the loss of face-to-face human connection, there is another emotion that surfaces often – a feeling of gratitude to be working for a true innovator in the higher education space. Northeastern is not an ‘ivory tower’ institution. Our commitment to purposeful experiential education that fuses the rigor of classroom instruction with the relevance of the real-world is now over a century old and has stood the test of time. It is part of our DNA.

I strongly believe that Northeastern’s model of humanics + experiential learning is the right model for the post-COVID world. Why? This new world has led to an accelerated convergence of physical and digital endeavors. The future of work is here. The skills necessary to succeed in this digital economy are different from those that led to success in the information economy. These future-focused skills require not only a well-rounded education – one that breaks knowledge siloes and traverses across college boundaries – but also one that focuses on extensive human-centered technology and data skills. Coupling classroom content with practical experience is the need of the hour to produce leaders who are ready to make a difference from day one.

We have been preparing for this future at D’Amore-McKim for a while now. We aspire to create knowledge and educate students for our brave new digitally-convergent world. We are ready for the task and look forward to a bright future ahead that benefits from our progressive model of higher education so that we further benefit the citizens of the world.

Raj Echambadi
Dunton Family Dean
D’Amore-McKim School of Business

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