Meet the Dean: Robert Morris University Meet the Dean | Robert Morris University

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Meet the Dean

Dr. Val Howard
Valerie Howard
School of Nursing and Health Sciences
Dr. Valerie Howard is the Dean and a professor of nursing for Robert Morris University's School of Nursing and Health Sciences. She is also the founder and director of RMU's Regional Research and Innovation in Simulation Education (RISE) Center and past-President of the International Nursing Association of Clinical Simulation in Nursing (INACSL), from which she received an Excellence Award in Research in 2010. She also served as a team member for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant funding and RAVEN CMS funded initiative.

Dr. Howard has over 17 years of experience in higher education, with the past nine years dedicated to researching, developing and implementing simulation experiences across the curriculum. Since 2004 she has been responsible for integrating academically sound simulation experiences for undergraduate and graduate students at RMU. In addition to supervising the expansion and accreditation of the RMU Simulation Lab into the RISE Center, she also created and implemented the Leadership in Simulation Instruction and Management online certificate program to assist with integrating this complex training methodology. Dr. Howard is a national and international resource for simulation, serving on the Scientific Counsel for the Certificate of Simulation in Advanced for the College of Health and Applied Sciences in Lausanne, Switzerland; the Global Network for Simulation in Healthcare, and an accreditation site visitor for the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

During her time at RMU, she has played an integral part in the development and success of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, and has also served the university in other initiatives as well. Working in tandem with RMU's Office of Institutional Advancement, she played an integral part in helping to raise over $6M for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. She also served as academic department head of nursing, where she developed a faculty orientation program, set standards for clinical and classroom education, and monitored program evaluation and outcomes. As a co-leader of RMU's Academic Integrity Committee, she helped develop the university's first Academic Integrity Policy. She also co-led the Standard on Integrity for RMU's Middle States Self-Study Report.

Dr. Howard earned a BSN from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MSN and Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include the use of simulation, inter-professional teamwork training, and technology in education, specifically related to participant learning outcomes. Her most cited study on this topic is entitled, "Human Patient Simulators and Interactive Case Studies—A Comparative Analysis of Learning Outcomes and Student Perceptions" (CIN, 2010). Other notable collaborative publications include: “Faculty Mentoring Programs: Re-envisioning rather than reinventing the wheel. (Review of Educational Research, 2008); "Communication and Human Patient Simulation in Psychiatric Nursing" (Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 2009); “Simulation-Based Team Training in Healthcare” (Simulation and Healthcare, 2011); "Integration of Simulation Across the Curriculum: Student and Faculty Perspectives" (Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 2010). She is co-Author of the original Elsevier Simulation Learning System Product and has presented nationally and internationally on such topics as simulation, electronic health records, and online learning at conferences held by Sigma Theta Tau, AACN, INACSL, SSH, Mosby, Contemporary Forums, and Emerging Technologies.

Dr. Howard is also a master trainer for the TeamSTEPPS© evidence-based teamwork training system developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Department of Defense, which are incorporated throughout all undergraduate and graduate simulation experiences. She also developed the STRIVE Model© to assist faculty with the implementation and expansion of simulation services in their respective institutions.

Dr. Howard first found her passion for nursing when she began working in the emergency department at a Level I Trauma Center at Presbyterian University Hospital in Pittsburgh. There she cared for critically ill patients and their families, intervening during a time of crisis, and working as a high performing team member to stabilize their condition. Fueled by this passion, she is dedicated to preparing the next generation of healthcare workers to provide the highest quality of care and leading academic efforts among the RMU faculty. She believes that high quality academic and clinical experiences incorporating teamwork principles for our future healthcare workers translates to improved patient outcomes and enhanced patient safety.

Dr. Howard and her husband, Matthew, live in Peter's Township and have four college-age children. A native of Philipsburg, Pa., she is also a talented vocalist and devoted fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.