Information Systems and Communications Ph.D.

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Program Credits

Earn a doctorate in three years without quitting your job. The Ph.D. in Information Systems and Communications at RMU is an executive-style degree program that features supportive expert faculty, a high success rate, a collaborative cohort model that builds professional networks, and an interdisciplinary approach to information systems and communications that strengthens your credentials. 

The Ph.D. in Information Systems and Communications is the only one of its kind in the Pittsburgh region designed for young professionals, seasoned career professionals, top executives, and adult learners in the professional fields of technology, information systems, and communication who manage information resources:

  • Chief information officers, chief knowledge officers, network administrators, in-house consultants, training specialists, and other managers of information systems and technology in corporate and professional organizations
  • Educators, academic administrators, and information managers in educational institutions
  • Professionals in accounting, finance, MIS, management, marketing, health care administration, telecommunications, and corporate communications whose qualifications will be enhanced by a doctoral degree.

Curriculum consists of nine interdisciplinary content courses (27 credits) that develop applications of theory in a range of information systems and communication contexts, research methodology courses (15 credits), colloquia seminars (3 credits), and dissertation writing directed studies (15 credits). The 60-credit program culminates in a dissertation that analyzes and solves an information systems and communications problem chosen by the doctoral candidate.

The executive format assures student success and minimizes isolation by scheduling 5-day residencies in late August and early January, with two additional weekend residencies scheduled in both fall and spring for each of the three years. Campus in Moon Township is conveniently located just two miles from Pittsburgh International Airport. During their on-campus residency, Ph.D. students enjoy networking with their fellow cohort members, building relationships with faculty, and personal attention from their advisor. This collaborative environment is why 90+% of students graduate within three years, whereas most doctoral programs take more than twice as long to complete.

A limited number of one time, needs-based, partial scholarships are available for newly admitted Ph.D. students. Contact the Office of Graduate Admissions for more information and a scholarship application. Call 800-762-0097 or email

Contact Information

Jamie Pinchot
Director, Ph.D. Information Systems and Communications
Wheatley Center 327

Michelle Yamada
Administrative Assistant to Graduate Programs, SIHSS
Wheatley Center, 3rd Floor

Recommended Course Sequence

Year 1


  • ISCM8010 Colloquium Orientation Seminar I (CS-I) – 1 credit
  • ISCM8110 Theories in Action in Information Systems and Communication (IDC-I) – 3 credits
  • ISCM8120 Information Systems and Communication in Cybersociety (IDC-II) – 3 credits
  • ISCM8130 Introduction to Research Process for ISC (RMC-I) – 3 credits


  • ISCM8140 Information Design and Human Communications for ISC (IDC III) – 3 credits
  • ISCM8150 Theory Development & Knowledge Management for ISC (3 credits)
  • ISCM8160 Rhetorical, Semiotic and Ethno-cultural Foundations for ISC (IDC-IV)– 3 credits
  • ISCM9100 Dissertation I – Research Topic Development (DSC-I) – 2 credits


  • ISCM9200 Dissertation II – Literature Search (DSC-II) – 3 credits online

Year 2


  • ISCM8020 Colloquium Seminar II (CS-II) – 1 credit
  • ISCM8210 Advanced Research Design for ISC (3 credits)
  • ISCM8220 Data Analytics: Managerial Perspectives (IDC-VI) – 3 credits
  • ISCM8230 Quantitative Research Methods I for ISC (RMC III) – 3 credits


  • ISCM8240 Qualitative Research Methods for ISC (RMC-IV) – 3 credits
  • ISCM8250 Quantitative Research Methods II for ISC (RMC V) – 3 credits
  • ISCM9300 Dissertation III – Dissertation Proposal Completion & Defense (DSC-III) – 2 credits


  • ISCM9400 Dissertation IV – Data Collection (DSC-IV) – 3 credits, online

Year 3


  • ISCM8030 Colloquium Seminar III (CS-III) – 1 credit
  • ISCM8310 Economics of Information Systems in the Digital Age (IDC-VII) – 3 credits
  • ISCM8320 Information Security and the Law (IDC-VIII) – 3 credits
  • ISCM9500 Dissertation V – Data Analysis (DSC-V) – 3 credits


  • ISCM8330 Contemporary Issues in ISC (IDC-IX) – 3 credits
  • ISCM9600 Dissertation VI – Dissertation Completion & Defense (DSC-VI) – 2 credits
Faculty Bios

Staff PortraitStuart Allen is a Professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership. He started his career as an industrial/organizational psychologist working in South Africa, before becoming a full-time academic focused on leadership. He has worked with organizational leaders from various industries and has consulted to organizations in the information technology, corporate, education, healthcare, nonprofit, and government sectors. His consulting experience includes executive coaching, leadership development, change management, human resource management, organizational development, and team development. Dr. Allen is an active researcher with interests in leadership, teaching with technology, inclusive classrooms and organizations, sustainability, and research methods.

Staff PortraitNatalya Bromall was born in Ivanovo, Russia, and received her BS and MS degrees in Mathematics from Ivanovo State University. She graduated from Utah State University with a Ph.D. in Business Information Systems and Education and held academic positions in multiple universities, prior to joining RMU in 2013. Dr. Bromall is currently an Associate Professor of CIS; her areas of interest include cloud services, quantitative methods, web programming, cyber security and database management. She has multiple publications in academic journals and conference proceedings, is a certified AWS Solutions Architect – Associate and a certified AWS Academy instructor.

Staff PortraitDonna Cellante is a Professor of Computer and Information Systems at Robert Morris University.  Dr. Cellante earned an Ed.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in Administrative and Policy Studies (Curriculum and Supervision).  She is a certified Business, Computer, and Information Technology teacher.  Dr. Cellante has been at Robert Morris University in several capacities:  Professor of Computer & Information Systems, Professor of Education, Associate Dean, Department Head, Director, and Coordinator.  Her research interests include women in technology, STEM + C (computing), middle school girls and computing careers, security and privacy issues, and business teacher education.  She has published papers in journals such as Issues in Information Systems (IIS), Association for Information Technology Professionals (AITP), Decision Sciences Institute (NEDIS), and Business Education Forum.

Staff PortraitA.J. Grant is a University Professor of Organizational Leadership at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, PA. Grant’s research interests include historical and contemporary topics in rhetoric, ethics, popular culture, and leadership. Recent publications include “Ethos, Pathos and Logos: Rhetorical Fixes for an Old Problem: Fake News” and “Does G-d Lie: Dissembling in the Holy Books, both forthcoming from the Informing Science Institute. Grant has also published articles in Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Leadership and the Humanities, The Journal of American Culture, and the Journal of Leadership Studies. Grant received his Ph.D. in Rhetoric and English from Northern Illinois University, an MAT from Wheaton Graduate School and a BA in English Literature and Writing from the University of Pittsburgh.

Staff PortraitFrancis X. Hartle, D.Sc. is an Assistant Professor at RMU in the School of Informatics, Humanities and Social Science and Director for Criminal Justice Programs. His areas of research are cybercrime, cyber intelligence, threat intelligence, and the use of artificial intelligence, and augmented reality in law enforcement. At Robert Morris University, he led the design and implementation of the Master of Science in Cyber Investigation and Intelligence. Dr. Hartle has 30 years of experience in law enforcement and criminal justice to include the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police as an officer and detective. He serves as the Assistant Federal Security Director for Law Enforcement for DHS/TSA and prior as the Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge. Dr. Hartle was the Federal Air Marshal Service representative on the Pittsburgh FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Locally, he serves as the Emergency Management Coordinator for his township. Dr. Hartle holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Systems Technology from Duquesne University, a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Point Park University, and a Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in Information Systems at Robert Morris University.

Diane Igoche is an Associate Professor of CIS with an educational background in Business, Information Systems and Instructional Technology. Her current research interests include data analytics and machine learning applications in limited resource settings, broadening participation of underrepresented groups in STEM+C, and curriculum development in computing. Dr. Igoche has taught both in the USA and Saudi Arabia. She has supervised undergraduate and graduate student research efforts both at RMU and abroad. She is also involved in various community efforts including co-leading the Pittsburgh Women in Machine Learning and Data Science group

Staff PortraitAnn D. Summerhall-Jabro, Ph.D. (The Pennsylvania State University) transitioned from an award-winning career in media to academe. An award-winning teacher, nationally recognized scholar and recipient of commendations for her approach to  engaged learning and service, Jabro serves as the first female president of the American Federation of Teachers Local #3412 where she implemented culture change strategies to promote the intellectual excellence of members and co-chairs for negotiations. Jabro's research interests include crisis response strategies using traditional and digital media during stages of crises, organizational sustainability and leadership across the spectrum, and stimulating mindfulness and self awareness during global educational excursions.

Staff PortraitEdward Karshner is an Associate Professor of English and Humanities. He holds a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Philosophy from Bowling Green State University. As a Fulbright Scholar in 2005, Karshner researched T’ang Dynasty folklore and poetry. He has also researched and written on Ancient Egyptian magical practices. For ten years, he studies with Diné (Navajo) healers and story tellers and wrote about Diné Ceremony as a rhetorical system. Most recently, he researches and writes about Appalachian folklore, magic, and mysticism. Both his academic and creative writing explores the intersections of rhetoric, folk-metaphysics, and art as a means to communicate the foundational knowledge of cultural and individual agency. He lives in Oberlin, Ohio with his wife and their two children. But, his home will always be the Salt Creek Valley of the Appalachian Plateau in Southeastern Ohio. 

Staff PortraitFrederick G. Kohun, Ph.D., University Professor of Computer and Information Systems at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has more than 35 years of experience as a professor and academic administrator (department head, associate dean, dean, and associate provost), and was the founding director of the doctoral program in Information Systems and Communication. He holds a bachelor degree in economics from Georgetown University, graduate degrees in economics and information science, from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Ph.D. in applied history in technology from Carnegie Mellon University.   At Robert Morris University he led the design and implementation of eight technology based academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate level (including a doctoral program) as well as the attainment of ABET-CAC accreditation. He is known both nationally and internationally from his numerous publications and presentations in economics, health informatics, decision support, knowledge management, technological impact, and culture—particularly with his research in the MUMPS programming language that began with his doctoral dissertation at Carnegie Mellon University. Currently, he is active internationally as an accreditation evaluator and team leader having participated in more than 22 accreditation visits. In the recent past he was named the International Computer Educator of the Year by the International Association of Computer Information Systems. Also he was recently honored by his doctoral student with an endowed doctoral scholarship fund under his name. Furthermore, Dr. Kohun has been recognized and named a Fellow and Distinguished Scholar by the International Institute for Applied Knowledge Management,

Staff PortraitPaul Kovacs, Ph.D. is a University Professor of Computer and Information Systems. Dr. Kovacs has taught computer and information systems courses at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Neumann University, and Duquesne University. Industry experience includes Computer Systems and Analysis work in Pittsburgh at PNC Bank, Bank of NY Mellon, and the Equitable Gas Company. Kovacs received his doctorate and master’s degrees in Educational Communications and Technology from the University of Pittsburgh and a BS in Education from California University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include pedagogy in higher education such as how students learn and interact with technology as well as topics concerning Big Data and Data Analytics. He has numerous publications in academic journals and conference proceedings and has received several awards for his publications.

Staff PortraitSushma Mishra is a Professor in Computer Information Systems department at Robert Morris University. Dr. Mishra received her PhD from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has published multiple articles in information security governance, security effectiveness and health informatics. She was the director of the doctor in science (D.Sc.) program at RMU. Dr. Mishra’s research interests include organizational information security, security effectiveness, health informatics, gender issues in IT and cloud computing.

Staff PortraitSun-A Park, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Robert Morris University. She received both M.A. and Ph.D. in Journalism (Emphasis in Strategic Communication) from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a B.A. in Public Relations and Advertising from Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea. Her research interests include environmental risk, health, and crisis communication, such as consumer health crisis management, public health crisis communication, and corporate sustainability communication. Her research has appeared in Public Relations Review, Journal of Public Relations Research, Prism, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Studies in Communication Sciences, Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Journal of Communication in Healthcare, and The Handbook of Crisis Communication.

Staff PortraitKaren Paullet, D.Sc. has been a faculty member at Robert Morris University since May of 2009 where she teaches Cyber Security. She holds a BS in Information Systems, a MS in Communications and Information Systems, and a DSc. in Information Systems and Communications from Robert Morris University. In addition Dr. Paullet has spent over 13 years working with law enforcement preparing cases using digital evidence for trial. She has spoken at over 200 engagements nationally and internationally to include agencies such as NASA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NIST, Department of Energy and the Federal Reserve on the Dangers of Social Network Sites, Mobile Security Threats, Privacy of Information, Information Sharing and the CSI Effect.  She has applied her research interests to educate students, organizations, law enforcement and government agencies. Her work has been published through various journals to include Issues in Information Systems, Journal of Information Systems (JISE) and the Journal of Information Systems of Applied Research (JISAR). Dr. Paullet has received numerous awards to include Distinguished Achievement Award for Service, Excellence in Teaching Award, and Academic Excellence Award.  She brings her professional experience in law enforcement and teaching to serve and educate others in the community. 

Staff PortraitJamie Pinchot is a Professor of Computer and Information Systems at Robert Morris University. Dr. Pinchot earned a D.Sc. in Information Systems and Communications and an MS in Communications and Information Systems from Robert Morris University. She received her BA in Computer Science and AA in Management Information Systems from Thiel College. Her research interests include mobile technologies, information security and privacy, information design, social media, and the intersection of technology use and culture. Dr. Pinchot spent more than nine years working in IT in various capacities including web development, web interface design, web integration with legacy systems and most recently as a Senior IT Consultant specializing in enterprise online collaboration tools, social media, and mobile technologies. She has published papers in journals such as the Journal of Information Systems Education (JISE), the Journal of Information Systems Applied Research (JISAR), Information Systems Education Journal (ISEDJ), and Issues in Information Systems (IIS).

Staff PortraitElizabeth Stork is Professor of Organizational Leadership. She earned her Ph.D. in Social Work – Social Administration from the University of Pittsburgh as well as her M.A. in Sociology in Gender, Race, and Class and M.S.W. Her B.A. in The Classics is from L.S.U. She has been teaching at RMU since 2005 and was the first faculty member for the graduate program in Organizational Studies, responsible for a great deal of course development. She also served as department head in the program. Stork conducts research in a variety of subjects related to the social construction of leadership, and of diversity, as well as the dynamics of teaching and learning, but her interests are strongly in the area of patriarchal effects on women and men leaders.  Currently she is studying women activists in authoritarian, patriarchal countries such as Jordan, Armenia, and Ethiopia, interviewing women who accomplish things under oppressive social traditions. Other areas of research are in leadership entitlement, using film to study gender stereotyping, and deconstructing leadership, and deconstructing diversity. Previous research has included cultural diversity, pedagogy, civility, behavioral decision making by women seeking shelter from violence, among other things. Stork has a history of working in philanthropy, sitting on nonprofit boards, board development, and evaluating programs and agencies. She has more than a dozen publications and three dozen conference presentations and has recently finished a book chapter on doing research in international settings. She currently teaches research methods, social movements, sex/gender and leadership, and the leadership and democracy capstone.

Staff PortraitPing Wang, Ph.D., CISSP, is a Professor of Computer Information Systems and the Point of Contact (POC) of RMU’s national Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) designation by NSA/DHS. He has taught and published research on various topics of IS/IT, Cybersecurity, and Communication, including computer networks, network security, Internet of Things (IoT), cybersecurity education and workforce development, business data breach communication, and cross-cultural communication. He has a Ph.D. in Information Systems from Nova Southeastern University, a Master of Computer Information Science (MCIS) from Cleveland State University as well as an MA and BA in Linguistics. Dr. Wang is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and a senior consultant and leader of a private cybersecurity firm. He has received many awards for excellence in teaching, research, innovation, and mentoring. He has been an active member of the U.S. National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Working Group since 2016 and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Hyperconnectivity and the Internet of Things (IJHIoT) since 2017. Dr. Wang is a certified diversity trainer and an active accreditation evaluator for Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and ABET Computing Accreditation Commission.

Staff PortraitWenli Wang is a Professor of Computer and Information Systems at Robert Morris University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Management Science and Information Systems from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000, and subsequently held academic posts at Emory University, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and Trident University. Her current research focuses on cybersecurity, health informatics, artificial intelligence, and rich media. She has 20+ journal and 40+ conference publications. She has published in Journal of Economic Theory, Decision Support Systems, IEEE Computer, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Communications of the AIS, Journal of Information Technology Management, Technology in Society, etc. She has served on the editorial boards of Journal of Database Management and International Journal of E-business Research. Her other research interests are game theory, organizational behavior, leadership, ethics, mindfulness, control and assurance. She received her B.S. in Computer Engineering & Telecommunications from Beijing University of Posts & Telecommunications in 1994.

Staff PortraitDavid F. Wood, Ph.D. is Professor of Computer Information Systems at Robert Morris University. He earned his Ph.D. in Business Administration and Master of Business Administration in Operations Research from the University of Pittsburgh and a BS in Physics from Carnegie Mellon. His areas of expertise are in Information Systems Curriculum and IS Program Accreditation. He helped to secure the most recent ABET re-accreditation, which is current until September 30, 2022.  He has been been a faculty member at Robert Morris since 1984.  He has taught programming, statistics, and the economics of information systems, as well as Management Information Systems at The Pennsylvania State University.  His research interests include the Economics of Information Systems, especially Data Breaches, and Data Analytics.

Staff PortraitChen Yang (Ph.D, M.S., M.A., B.A.) is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Robert Morris University. Dr. Yang has a Ph.D. in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. Prior to completing his doctorate study, Dr. Yang has worked in multinational corporations in China and also earned two master’s degrees: one in Linguistics and one in Applied Statistics. Dr. Yang’s scholarship covers a variety of areas such as social media usage, intercultural communication, media effects, digital news, and more. His recent research topics include international students’ life in America and US media’s representation of China’s image. Dr. Yang has presented his research in multiple academic conferences including National Communication Association (NCA), Broadcast Education Association (BEA), Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), and International Academy for Intercultural Research (IAIR). His research is published in book chapters and peer-reviewed journals such as Journalism, Electronic News, and Journal of Asian Communication. Dr. Yang has taught courses related to digital media, intercultural communication, advertising, and research methods.

Additional Program Information

Sample Courses:

These are some of the classes for students in this academic program:

Theories in Action in Information Systems and Communication
Qualitative Research Methods for ISC
Economics of Information Systems in the Digital Age

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