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RMU Names Valerie Howard Acting Dean of School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pittsburgh -- Robert Morris University has named nursing Professor Valerie M. Howard the acting dean of its School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Howard replaces Professor of Nursing Lynda Davidson, the school’s founding dean, who has decided to return to the faculty.

Howard came to RMU from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004. As an internationally recognized expert in medical simulation, she has positioned Robert Morris as a leader in this field, providing simulation training to health care workers throughout the Pittsburgh region. Howard is president of the International Nursing Association of Clinical Simulation and Learning.

Previously at RMU she served as assistant dean for external affairs of the nursing school, director of development for the school, and director of the Regional Research and Innovation in Simulation Education (RISE) Center. She has helped to raise more than $6 million for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, including funds that are going toward construction of a state-of-the-art building for the school.

“Val Howard has been critical to the growth of RMU’s nursing programs and the school’s reputation not only in the Pittsburgh region, but also across the nation and around the world,” said RMU President Gregory G. Dell’Omo.

Howard earned a BSN from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MSN and Ed.D. in higher education administration from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a master trainer for the TeamSTEPPS© evidence-based teamwork training system developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Department of Defense.

“High-quality academic and clinical experiences, with an emphasis on principles of teamwork, are the key to educating our future healthcare providers, which will result in improved patient outcomes and enhanced patient safety. That’s what we deliver to our students at Robert Morris,” said Howard.

Davidson also came to Robert Morris from Pitt in 2004, and became the founding dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences three years later. When RMU first offered a nursing program in 2003, 18 students enrolled. This fall’s enrollment is at 792.

 Highlights of Davidson’s tenure as dean also include the accreditation of all nursing degree programs by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the launch of the first state Board of Nursing certified doctor of nursing practice degree program. Davidson served as interim provost in 2007, a critical time when RMU was implementing its first strategic plan.

“I want to congratulate Lynda for her achievements as dean and express my gratitude for her many contributions to RMU’s growth and success these past several years,” said Dell’Omo.

Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania.