Dean Michalenko Invites RMU Into His Daily Life

While students my
find a College administration to be made of unapproachable people, they will
find the Robert Morris University (RMU) administration as an exception to that
idea.

John Michalenko, the
Dean of Students and Vice President of Student life, is one of the most
approachable and excepting people at RMU.

Michalenko has been
part of the RMU community almost 15 years. He hopes to continue his time at the
school for as long as he can.  Michalenko joined RMU after nine years at
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

“[I] heard great
things about RMU,” Michalenko stated while he was at CMU.

He was previously
the director of the Career Center at RMU, and was promoted to his current
position just a few years after.

Being part of the
university for this long means that Michalenko has seen its changes throughout
the years, including its change from a college to a university.

“Student life and
[Resident] Life Population used to be one third of campus, and now it’s at
least half,” said Michalenko regarding how RMU has “propelled forward” in the
last few years.

Michalenko also
stated that RMU has added a building a year or remodeled a building a year
since he started working there.

He also has an understanding that the
university still has a lot to do when it comes to growth

“We need to continue
that transformation,” he said.  He is working toward that growth every
day.

“Every day is
different,” said Michalenko about his daily routine at RMU.

He has meetings with
the staff of Student Life for strategic planning,  and he researches on the demographics of
students.

“About 50 percent of my day is spent on meetings,” he
explained. He stated that these meetings sometime involve meeting with a
supporter of RMU and the university’s president, Dr. Gregory Dell’Omo.

The rest of his day
is spent working on projects, working with students, and going to events.

“I… make sure that
I’m available for students,” he explained. “I worry about the well being of
1,700 students living on campus and the other 1,700 living off campus.”

Students are
actually fond of him on campus.

“My friends and I
call Dean Michalenko the “Good Dean” because he’s amazing at his job,” said
Elizabeth Benigni, a junior at RMU. “He’s helpful and [is] always there to
listen and spends time with us [at] all the events we have on campus.”

“You can be anything
here or can be nothing it’s up to you,” said Michalenko on the student body on
campus.

Although Michalenko
said that he feels most of his days are spent in RMU, he spends a lot of time
with his family.

“I spend time with
my children,” he said. He explained that his children are very active in sports
and other things in their school. He supports them in these activities.

“I help with laundry, ironing, [and] making lunches,” he
added.

Michalenko’s door is
always opened. He explained that his days are filled with “Welcomed
interruptions”.  He makes the effort to get to know as many students by
name as he can and sees college as an opportunity to build the experience that
the students want.