Letter to the LMU Community: Abbie Robinson-Armstrong

September 19, 2018

Dear LMU Community:

Abbie Robinson-Armstrong, Ph.D., LMU’s vice president for intercultural affairs, has informed me that she will retire on May 31, 2019. For nearly two decades, VP Robinson-Armstrong’s leadership has transformed how LMU understands and cultivates educational equity. She is a highly sought-after thought leader, with expertise in developing and implementing inclusive excellence in higher education.

VP Robinson-Armstrong joined LMU on Aug. 1, 2001. Prior to LMU, she served in leadership positions at the University of Illinois and Wright State University, and she held faculty positions at Seneca, Centennial, and Durham Colleges in Canada. VP Robinson-Armstrong earned her Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Toledo, her Master of Science in education from Indiana University, and her B.S. in elementary education from the University of Indianapolis. She has authored several books, abstracts, papers, and book chapters on the organizational dynamics of higher education institutions and inclusive excellence.

As LMU’s inaugural leader for inclusive excellence, VP Robinson-Armstrong leaves a rich legacy:

  • She conceptualized and cultivated inclusive excellence, positioning LMU as a national leader.
  • She collaborated with university leadership and faculty to build infrastructure that supports and promotes inclusive excellence in hiring and advancement through Foundations for Recruiting and Hiring Exceptional Faculty for Mission; Guidelines for Recruiting and Hiring Exceptional Faculty for Mission; Recruiting and Hiring Endowed Chairs; Recruiting and Hiring President’s Professors; and the President’s Leadership Development Program. She led campus climate surveys of students, faculty and staff; implemented the “Student Success Scorecard,” which contributed to increased retention; and worked with more than 200 faculty members to develop “LMU Gender and Ethnic Profile of the Faculty,” an index that measures college/school progress toward diversifying the faculty. 
  • VP Robinson-Armstrong is an outstanding scholar, evidenced by her success in securing external funding. These successes have included a grant from Hewlett Foundation to implement Pedagogy Workshops, a professional development program to help faculty learn about teaching in diverse classrooms; and $1M from the James Irvine Foundation to implement the Academic Community of Excellence (ACE), a program serving historically underrepresented students seeking graduate and professional school futures.
  • VP Robinson-Armstrong led LMU’s Implicit Bias Initiative to help our community recognize the ubiquity of implicit bias and its impact on individuals, organizations, and society, then adopt evidence-based strategies to mitigate implicit bias.
  • VP Robinson-Armstrong’s reach extended beyond LMU. She was instrumental in creating the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education and served on its board of directors for eight years, and she reviewed articles for the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. She received an Award of Appreciation from the LMU Black Student Union, the Special Service Award from the Culver City Lions Club, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from the National Science Foundation, which included a grant from President Bill Clinton.

We have been blessed to have Abbie as our colleague. I will miss her wise counsel, her friendship, honesty, laughs, love, and her consonance with our mission. She leaves a legacy upon which we will build. We will soon share details for our national search for our next VP and a robust-as-Abbie celebration, planned for Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018.

With sincere appreciation and thanks,

Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.