In less than a month, I will welcome the Class of 2018 to campus and share some advice about what they ought to look for as college students. Each fall I tell new students this: You'll know you had a powerful education if, years later, you can think back on your time at RMU and remember the professor who inspired you, got you excited about learning, and helped you to envision your future and lay the groundwork to achieve your dreams. Most people like me are in this discipline because we had a mentor like that. I've been saying it for years, and now I have the data to back it up.
These experiences are better predictors of success than what you majored in or even where you went to college. Yet only 3 percent of college graduates strongly agreed they experienced all six.
RMU's new strategic plan will focus on making sure every student says yes to all six. We strongly encourage faculty and staff to be mentors, something that must be embedded in the DNA of the university. We will strengthen our Student Engagement Program, which supplements classroom learning with long-term research and other projects, extracurricular activities, and internships. We plan to partner with the Gallup- Purdue Index to survey our own students and graduates.
We are also moving forward with major improvements to our career services, to fully integrate those programs from the day students apply to each of their years at RMU, and throughout their lifetimes as alumni. This year's freshmen will see career services front and center at orientation. We will also reach out to alumni with new programs for their development, and ask them to help expand our network of internships and job opportunities for students.
An RMU education should make our graduates "engagement-ready," savvy enough to seek out and find the jobs and workplaces that will inspire them. As the Gallup-Purdue Index shows, people who are engaged at work are almost five times as likely to be thriving in all aspects of their life.
It starts with knowing that your alma mater truly cares about you as a person. When I welcome the new students next month, I will be thinking about what they will tell the Gallup-Purdue people after they earn their diplomas. If we are fulfilling our mission, it will be something like this: "Robert Morris University was the perfect school for someone like me."
Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D.
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