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> Greetings from the Director The Instructional Management and Leadership Ph.D. program has reached a twelve-year milestone. As I reflect back on the early start-up of the program, I marvel at not only the progress we have made but the growth as well.

Our program is now moving into its twelfth year with the promise of an incoming cohort targeting twenty candidates. In the coming year, we are looking forward to implement a complimentary online program that will be available to students across the United States. The National Education Association (NEA) has given their endorsement to the education department, which will help promote marketing and defray some of the cost of the doctoral program for interested educators. Since the start of our IML Ph.D. program, a number of other local universities have started accelerated, executive-type programs to meet the needs of the increasing market of interested doctoral students. Our program is of the upmost quality due to the excellent work of the doctoral faculty, the support of our Dean, Mary Ann Rafoth, and the help of my doctoral assistant, Patty Zusinas. Working together as a team, we have been able to build a successful program and a strong alumni base of doctoral students. In closing, both the staff and myself are very proud of our graduates who have engaged in publishing, received promotions and advanced to new careers as a result of their Ph.D. certification. We are all extremely optimistic of the program's future in both the traditional and online format and anticipate that the Instructional Management Leadership Ph.D. program will be a mainstay for Robert Morris University. George Semich


In the beginning of the program, we had a total of nineteen applicants and selected only ten to be a part of our pilot group. Currently, we average around a hundred applicants and accept around thirty-six students per year.

> Patty's Perspective: I have been with the IML Ph.D. program, along with Dr. Semich, since its inception twelve years ago. Throughout that time we have worked to provide a stable foundation for the program and to manage its growth, and have celebrated the successes of our students and graduates. The students receive individualized attention in the program, but also become our friends. We have striven to be consistent with organizing and coordinating the program, with an eye towards keeping everyone on the road towards completion, and helping to provide a smooth transition from one phase to the next. We have always tried to provide compassion in the instances where life occurrences alter someone’s path on the journey. We truly enjoy this program and all the wonderful individuals that we have had the privilege to know. We look forward to the annual alumni picnic in the fall and hope to see all of you, our family, once again. Patty Zusinas


> Comments from the Dean This has truly been a banner year for the IML Ph.D. program at Robert Morris. We celebrated our l0th anniversary at a gala picnic on September 20. At the picnic, speakers noted that our model for the PhD program with completion in three years has now been imitated by competitors. But our leadership program – with its three strands: curriculum, leadership/ management, and technology, with a research thread running through all strands – remains unique, and it continues to attract a wide audience of teachers, administrators, health professionals, college/university faculty and staff, corporate trainers, and military personnel. We have implemented a continuous improvement program model, based on student yearly survey data and faculty cooperation, which has yielded over a 90% completion rate. Our program encourages all doctoral students to publish during their time in the program, with most students having papers accepted in peer-reviewed journals and conferences. The program has attracted many out-of-state students, as well as, international students from Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and France. Many of our graduates have moved to faculty and senior leadership positions in higher education. Our graduates have become a strong alumni base, and have established the George Semich Scholarship Fund in honor of doctoral program founder and current director, George Semich. Our double cohort (8a and 8b) completed the program last year and the majority graduated in May. In fact, our largest graduating class (28 graduates) marched across the stage on May 8. We are also pleased to announce that we finalized admittance to Cohort 2 in record time and that next year we will enroll a cohort in a fully online program in addition to our on-ground program. The program has never been more competitive. Mary Ann Rafoth

> Student Spotlight: Cindy Komarinski Fourteen years ago, Chef Cindy Komarinski earned an associate degree in food service management from WCCC and was hired as a member of the Westmoreland County Community College faculty. In addition to her doctorate from Robert Morris University, Komarinski holds professional certifications as a certified chef d'cuisine (C.C.C) and culinary educator (C.C.E .) through the American Culinary Federation Education Institute. Active within the American Culinary Federation Laurel Highlands Chapter, Komarinski has served as president, vice president and treasurer. Her accomplishments include Chef of the Year (2006), President's Award (1996), honorary member of the American Academy of Chefs (2011), WCCC Educational Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award (2011), and chair of the ACFEF National Apprenticeship Committee (2015).

> Promotions In the Instructional Management PhD program, we place a high value on what our graduates do upon completion of their degree. We track our students to see what progress or advancements they have made since completing the program and have selected a few to represent each of the Cohorts. Cohort 1: Kelley Shaffer, Director of the Center for Instructional Innovation for Tarleton State University; Mark Deitrick, Professor at the Community College of Beaver County Cohort 2: Karen Hjerpe, Athletic Director at California University of Pennsylvania; Robert Badowski, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Curriculum in North Carolina Cohort 3: Chris Stone, Director of Curriculum at Montour School District; Ashlea Rineer, Hershey full-time faculty member at California University of Pennsylvania Cohort 4: Shannon Shiderly, Faculty position at Geneva College; Todd Phillipson, Superintendent at Jefferson County Vocational School in Ohio Cohort 5: Tiffany Boury, tenure track position at Franciscan University; Barb Mellett, Administrative position in Quaker Valley School District Cohort 6: Joe Ancosky, Vice President for Program Management at PNC Bank in Pittsburgh; Wendy Rogers, tenure track position at Kutztown University Cohort 7: Tracey Sheetz, Director of Graduate Admissions at West Virginia University; Jeneen Peretin, Director of Information and Instructional Technology at Baldwin School District Cohort 8: Karen Aul, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Arkansas State University

> In Memorium Erik Stein (Cohort 6) of Edinboro, (formerly New Kensington) died Wednesday, May 20, 2015, in his home. Erik was an assistant director of residence life, training and assessment at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. in Spanish and an M.A. in student affairs in higher education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He served his country on active duty in the Army Reserves. Erik success fully defended his dissertation on January 8, 2015. Erik was a considerate, gentle, thoughtful man. He will be sadly missed.

> Student Spotlight: Wiam Younes Wiam Younes is an Information Security Training and Awareness Coordinator at Carnegie Mellon University. She manages the training and awareness program by building information security awareness content, conducting workshops, holding training events and managing online content for the university faculty, staff, and students. She is an adjunct faculty member at Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon, where she teaches a graduate course in Introduction Security Training and Awareness. Younes credits her education and learning experiences at Robert Morris University for the acquired skills in conducting research, and publishing and presenting at national and international conferences in the areas of educational technology and cyber security education.

> New Online Instructional Management PhD Program

The online program will require students to complete a one-week residency each summer where they will meet with faculty and work on the required coursework. Throughout the rest of the year, students will keep in contact with their advisor through videoconferencing and the learning management system Blackboard. The online PhD program is an exciting addition to the on-ground program and the University is excited to be able to reach a wider population of interested doctoral students.

> George Semich Endowed Scholarship

Jim Bernauer has been at RMU since 2005 and teaches at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels. Jim earned his undergraduate degree in secondary education social studies from the University of Dayton and earned an MED (Deafness), MBA, and Ed.D. (Policy, Planning, and Evaluation) from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to teaching at Boston College, Pitt, and Duquesne, Jim also has experience as a Vice President in corporate planning in the banking industry as director of development for a non-profit. Jim is primarily interested in pedagogy (pre-college) as well as the development of qualitative methodology and its integration with quantitative methodology.

Contact Us George W. Semich, Ed.D. Director, IML Doctoral Program and Professor of Education 412-397-6032


The George W. Semich Endowed Scholarship is a newly formed scholarship fund that will aid in furthering the education of doctoral students, who experience financial problems during their doctoral studies. Many of the donations to this scholarship fund are gifts from the graduating cohorts and doctoral alumni, as well as faculty and staff. The target amount to activate the scholarship is $25,000. For further information about the scholarship, or to make a donation, contact Jennifer Young at Institutional Advancement ( or 412-397-5452), or go to


The IML PhD program is pleased to announce a new program that will allow students to obtain a doctoral degree primarily online. Just like the traditional on-ground version, this program introduces students to the research process and prepares them for the dissertation defense that is required upon graduation. The new online delivery of the program will offer opportunities for students to participate from various locations around the country with an experienced doctoral faculty and an energetic community of doctoral graduates.

> Faculty Spotlight: Jim Bernauer

Instructional Management & Leadership Ph.D. Program  
Instructional Management & Leadership Ph.D. Program