Chatham’s Project Management Community is Stronger than Ever!

PMI Pittsburgh meeting with Dr. David Laird and Chatham students

By Ginger Ellis-Polozoff

Chatham University’s reputation in Pittsburgh’s Project Management (PM) community is gaining visibility and credibility. When Chatham launched a Project Management concentration in its MBA program in Fall 2014, Dr. Rachel Chung reached out to Project Management Institute (PMI) Pittsburgh chapter to recruit instructors and promote the new concentration. Business & Entrepreneurship Department Program Assistant Ginger Ellis-Polozoff took Chatham’s new PM courses in 2015, began attending PMI Pittsburgh chapter gatherings, and successfully passed PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam in January 2016. After getting her certification she began taking students with her to PMI’s monthly chapter meetings (as a pereq of Chatham’s MBA, the B&E Department will reimburse student-level memberships to professional associations that tie to their degree or concentration*.)

Chatham’s team, Coach David Laird, Mentor Jeff Pulcini, and volunteers at the 2017 IPMQB

The relationship between Chatham and PMI Pittsburgh truly began to solidify when Chatham was selected to host the PMI Pittsburgh Intercollegiate Project Management Quiz Bowl at its Eden Hall Campus in December 2017. The jeopardy-like game allowed students from regional universities to challenge each other in their Certified Associate in Project Management-level knowledge (CAPM). Schools from as far away as Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin participated. Ginger served on the IPMQB planning team and acted as the point of contact between the school and the chapter. Many members of PMI Pittsburgh volunteered to support the event by serving as timers, scorekeepers, question readers, technology managers, game facilitators, and in many other roles. Visitors to Chatham’s Eden Hall Campus were blown away by its beautiful, zero-emission facilities.

Dr. David Laird, PMP taught the brand new, two-credit Introduction to Project Management course at the undergraduate level that Fall. From the students in his class, he recruited a team to compete in the Quiz Bowl. Chatham’s team swept the competition and Youssef Aljabi, MIS/DSA ‘19 won “All Star Champion.” Chatham’s stellar performance impressed PMI Pittsburgh volunteers as well as the faculty and students from the visiting schools.

Ginger Polozoff and Chatham students attending one of PMI Pittsburgh’s “Women in Projects” meetings

Through the next year and a half, Ginger continued to attend the monthly chapter meetings with students, faculty, and alumni in tow. She and Dr. Laird also took students to other PMI Pittsburgh events, such as their Emerging PM Professional information sessions and Women in Projects meetings. Discussions were generated about Chatham hosting a satellite meeting at its Eden Hall Campus for PMI Pittsburgh’s northern members; these satellite meetings began in Fall 2018.

Chatham’s March 2019 PMI Intercollegiate Project Management Triathlon team

Chatham was selected again to host the March 2019 Intercollegiate PM Triathlon (name changed). Again Chatham did very well in the competition with its team winning First Runner Up in the Team Quiz Bowl and Team Activities. Chatham team member Rachel Henry, BA Marketing ’19 was First Runner-up Individual Champion. Marquette University from Milwaukee, Wisconsin won the top prizes—a rivalry is born!

To promote the Northern Satellite meetings at Chatham’s Eden Hall Campus, PMI Pittsburgh held its June 2019 chapter meeting there. The turn-out was great; over one hundred people attended, including many who rarely attend the downtown meeting. Dr. Tom Macagno delivered a presentation on Chatham’s Eden Hall Campus as a Project and students in the Masters of Sustainability and Masters of Food Studies programs provided tours to attendees.  Feedback about the program and the facilities was overwhelmingly positive.

June 2019 PMI Pittsburgh Chapter meeting at Eden Hall Campus

Due to the strong mutual support between Chatham University and the PMI Pittsburgh Chapter over the years, Chatham was listed as a Silver-Level sponsor of the PMI Pittsburgh Chapter in Fall 2019. Chatham is proud that its support of the chapter is recognized through its inclusion on the chapter’s website and announcements at the beginning of each chapter meeting. Chatham is also invited to promote its programs at PMI Pittsburgh events, such as their annual hallmark event Professional Development Day which hundreds of project management professionals attend each year.

Chatham was again selected to host the 2020 IPMT March 27-28, 2020. Eight teams registered (including two from Chatham), promising to be the largest IPMT event thus far.  Sadly, due to the COVID-19 “Shelter-in-Place” guidelines, the competition was postponed indefinitely. On the upside, the competition is growing in popularity and more schools in the region plan to participate.

Ginger Polozoff tabling at PMI Pittsburgh’s “Professional Development Day” in November 2019

Taking advantage of Chatham’s current momentum and visibility in the project management community, Chatham is planning to launch a professional-level Project Management Certificate program to be included in the 2021-2022 Chatham University Course Catalogue (but may begin enrolling students as early as Spring 2021). The program will leverage its relationships with PMI Pittsburgh and PittAgile to provide and develop programming, seek high-quality professional instructors, and recruit students. Chatham’s PM Certificate program will consist of three tracks for different levels of project managers—for those just starting out in the field, those who are mid-career, and those who are ready to be executives in project management. The curriculum will incorporate traditional three-credit graduate-level courses in project management, strategic communication, and risk management, as well as one-credit “deeper dives” into agile, scrum, and design thinking. Online and on-ground delivery formats as well as easy transfers of outside programming will make the program attractive and accessible to a wide array of learners. With the popularity of Management Information Systems and Data Science Analytics majors at the undergraduate level, Chatham is also preparing to add a project management minor to its curriculum. The minor will fortify majors across many disciplines such as MIS, DSA, as well as Interior Architecture, arts, film, sciences, nursing, etc.

Chatham is proud of its reputation in Pittsburgh’s project management community. With strong community engagement, dynamic faculty, student successes at competitions and within their careers—as well as a bold plan for maintaining momentum and visibility—Chatham will achieve its goal of being the premier project management education destination in the region. For information about project management education at Chatham University, contact Dr. Mark Haney, Associate Professor and Coordinator for MIS/DSA at (please copy

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