Issues and Priorities
Honoring Those Who Serve
President Chris Howard sat down recently for an interview with the RMU Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans Project, an initiative of the university’s Oral History Center. Dr. Howard, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, served in Afghanistan, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star.
The president’s participation in the Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans Project underscores his commitment – and that of Robert Morris University – to providing educational and professional opportunities to the men and women who have served their country in uniform. In 2009, RMU became one of the first private institutions in the nation to participate in the federal Yellow Ribbon Program, which helps veterans pay the difference between the cost of tuition and the benefits they receive under the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. RMU also offers the Military Service Award for veterans whose benefits are less than what is offered under the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill.
Currently, 241 veterans are enrolled at RMU, and 65 are set to earn a degree this spring. The RMU Veterans Education and Training Services Center, or VETS Center, offers veterans on campus a place to study and socialize 24 hours a day, seven days a week. RMU also offers classes and degree programs to military personnel stationed at the 171st Air Refueling Wing and 911th Airlift Wing, both of which are located near the university’s Moon Township campus.
Fostering Student Engagement
President Chris Howard has signed the Campus Compact 30th Anniversary Action Statement of Presidents and Chancellors to affirm and advance Campus Compact’s mission to promote student engagement and civic responsibility. Robert Morris University has long been a member of Campus Compact because engaged learning is at the heart of our mission and one of our core values, exemplified through our innovative Student Engagement Transcript.
The Student Engagement Transcript allows student to formally document activities that take place outside the classroom -- such as internships, community service, student abroad, and campus leadership -- that contribute to their professional success and personal well-being after they graduate. RMU is integrating these activities into the academic curriculum to help students apply what they learn through our Student Engagement Program throughout their careers.
What Chapter Will We Write at RMU?
President Chris Howard gave a moving, rousing, and inspiring talk at this year's RMU Black History Month Luncheon, sharing his personal story and also calling on RMU to promote excellence and opportunity for students of all backgrounds.
Moving the Needle Pledge
President Howard supports the American Council on Education's "Moving the Needle" pledge, committing his efforts toward the goal that by 2030, half of all college and university chief executives will be women. RMU has made the empowerment of women a strategic priority and has demonstrated time and again its leadership on this issue. For one, each of the deans of RMU's five academic schools is a woman. Click here to view RMU's pledge.
In 2014, RMU launched the Women's Leadership and Mentorship Program, which provides leadership opportunities, peer mentoring, and professional networking to academically talented female students throughout their undergraduate career. Currently 45 women are enrolled in the program, and when they graduate, they will enjoy a powerful network of other professionals to help boost their careers.
RMU also has sought to address gender inequality in the Pittsburgh region and beyond through the 74% Initiative, a research and outreach project of the university's Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management. The 74% Initiative has revealed that despite being disproportionally represented in the nonprofit workforce, women are less likely to hold leadership positions and are paid less than their male counterparts.
Inclusion and Integrity in Intercollegiate Athletics
As a former NCAA Division I student-athlete, President Chris Howard believes that athletics are an integral part of campus life, shaping the student experience for both participants and fans. He is committed to ensuring that intercollegiate athletics are inclusive and are conducted with the utmost integrity. Dr. Howard is demonstrating those values in several ways:
- He signed the NCAA Presidential Pledge and Commitment to Promoting Diversity and Gender Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics.
- Effective January 2017, President Howard is joining the NCAA Honors Committee.
- He has joined the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.
- He is a member of the National Football Foundation Awards Committee, which selects the winner of the Campbell Trophy, the highest academic award in the nation presented to a senior college football player. President Howard, an All-American running back at the U.S. Air Force Academy, was the first recipient of this award, known as the “academic Heisman.”
- RMU recently hosted a visit by Dr. Brian Hainline, NCAA chief medical officer and senior vice president of the NCAA Sport Science Institute. Dr. Hainline is working to ensure that NCAA student-athletes are protected by scientifically sound health and safety standards, and that the NCAA plays an active role in improving the quality and safety of youth sports in America.