M. Ann Howard, JD is Senior Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). She also is a professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society/Public Policy.
Professor Howard is the founder and director of RIT’s University/Community Partnership program, a community-based learning and participatory action research initiative centered on partnerships with residents and community-based organizations in the City of Rochester’s northeast neighborhoods. The mission is to support and propel the implementation of Neighborhood Action Plans while broadening and deepening the educational experience for RIT students. Now in its twelfth year, the Partnership has played an integral role in advancing RIT’s commitment to sharing resources and expertise with the Rochester community and has been the foundation for the development of community-based learning and participatory action research at RIT.
Through Professor Howard’s leadership students and faculty have incorporated community-based learning and research in courses, independent study activities, and co-operative education placements. Professor Howard's course, Sustainable Communities, has become a model for other faculty seeking to incorporate innovative pedagogies into their course work through community engagement. In addition, she developed a Summer Learning Community whereby community residents, neighborhood youth, RIT faculty and students, work together on participatory research and projects that facilitate community revitalization activities with a focus on community sustainability.
As a former public official who was active in citizen-led problem solving, Professor Howard has brought to the RIT campus an ethic and belief in the importance of citizen-decision making, democratic practice and social sustainability. Her work focuses attention on the social, cultural, economic and political context within which sustainability initiatives take place. She uses sustainability as a way to bring light to the connections between natural and human communities, between nature and culture, and the connections between environmental, economic and social systems, with an emphasis on equity and social justice
Ann Howard has presented her work at several national conferences, including the annual conference of the Corporation for National and Community Service, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development/Office of University Partnerships, the National Youth Leadership Council and Campus Community Partnerships for Health.
Professor Howard is the 2009 recipient of the RIT Four Presidents' Distinguished Public Service Award. She is a member of the Advisory Board of New York Campus Compact.
Professor Howard received her BS degree from Cornell University and her JD from Rutgers University School of Law.