Pittsburgh, Pa. – Robert Morris University has named Shari Payne the first dean of engaged learning, a unique position in which she will oversee RMU’s Student Engagement Transcript.
Payne, who has worked at RMU since 1997, most recently was the university’s director of academic operations. Her position as dean of engaged learning grew out of her role coordinating the Student Engagement Transcript (SET) for RMU students. Her other roles include developing service learning opportunities for students in conjunction with RMU’s Office of Student and Civic Engagement.
“This is something brand new. I’ve always been the type of person to take on new challenges and new roles,” said Payne.
The SET formally documents students’ participation in experiential learning, including leadership activities, community service, study abroad, athletics and work experience. Alongside the traditional academic transcript, the SET gives future employers and graduate schools a complete picture of a student’s undergraduate career.
RMU’s “SET for Success” program was launched during the 2008-09 academic year, and it is voluntary for current RMU students. Approximately 700 have participated so far. New RMU students entering the university starting in fall 2009 will be required to participate in activities in at least two of the SET’s seven categories in order to graduate.
Those categories are: arts, culture and creativity; transcultural/global experiences; undergraduate research; service; leadership; professional experience; and special recognition/special projects/student activity participation.
Payne said that she has been contacted by officials at other colleges and universities who are interested in offering their students something similar.
“We are definitely at the forefront of a big trend in engaged learning. I think it has been an overwhelming success,” said Payne.
Payne recently earned a doctor of education degree from the University of Pittsburgh, where she also earned a bachelor’s degree in English writing in 1995. In 2000, she earned a master’s degree in communications and information systems from RMU.
"Shari took the Student Engagement Transcript from idea to reality, working closely with faculty and staff not only on the overall design of the SET, but on developing such aspects of student involvement as service learning and off-campus experiences,” said RMU Provost David Jamison.
“In her new role, she will provide sound leadership and direction in making the RMU experience a better one for all of our students," said Jamison.