The Emmett J. Vaughan Institute of Risk Management and Insurance

Dynamic Progress—Exceeding Expectations

Fast Facts

  • Nearly 270 students have earned the RMI Certificate since 2006.
  • About 40% of the graduates are working for insurance companies, agencies or brokers.
  • Approximately 40% have taken positions in Iowa and 72% are working in the midwest.
  • The average GPA is 3.38.
  • $25,000 industry scholarships were awarded to RMI students during academic year 2014-15.
  • 150 different employers have hired RMI graduates, representing 14 industries, 24 states and 4 countries.

Since granting the first Certificate of Risk Management and Insurance in 2006, interest and enrollment in Vaughan Institute courses has expanded, doubling original projections. Based on student feedback, we attribute the popularity of our programs to quality faculty and lecturers; engaging, up-to-date courses; and abundant leadership and networking opportunities—many of which take place outside the classroom.

Graduate Success

Of our recent graduates reporting their employment status, 88% had accepted jobs or entered graduate school, including law school and a risk management master’s program. The insurance, banking, and investment industries have welcomed them in the following positions:

    Analyst (finance, business, porfolio, risk, credit and more..)
    Claims Adjuster
    Capital & Asset Manager
    Insurance & Accounting Auditor
    Business/Risk Management Consultant
    Personal Banker
    Bank Compliance Officer
    Bank/Insurance Manager
    Stock Exchange Trader

Expanding Student Horizons

With a foundation of scholarship, leadership, and mentorship, graduates of the Vaughan Institute certificate program enter the business world with enthusiasm. We applaud their success and will continue to support all of our students in reaching their goals.

Erin Wonsmos
BBA09 Finance and RMI Certificate recipient, is currently working at IMT in Des Moines. The opportunities to connect with others interested in insurance had a positive impact.

Erin says: “I would not be where I am without the help of the institute. The certificate program helped me build a network of professionals and students, and it opened the door to other opportunities. I met my employer at the Dana Ramundt Insurance Education Foundation golf outing.”

Mike Ihm
BBA09 Finance and RMI Certificate, who interned at Sentry in Davenport, has been pleased with the information and opportunities available to students. Mike is now a material damage claims representative at Nationwide in Des Moines.

Mike says: “The institute has been a big help in starting my career. I would not have known about my internship with Sentry or the opportunity to visit Nationwide if it hadn’t been for the student newsletter.”

Gamma Iota Sigma
The University of Iowa is the proud home of the Beta Alpha chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma. This national student organization promotes risk management and actuarial science as professions. With membership of approximately 20-25 students, the chapter provides its members—and other interested students—with opportunities for professional development, such as its Speaker Series, the 2008-09 Best Speaker Series in the Tippie College.

“Gamma Iota Sigma and the Vaughan Institute look to continue their collaboration on important initiatives that supplement classroom learning, like the Student Resume Book and the Industry Mentors Program.”

Jon Raftis, 2009-10 Gamma Iota Sigma president, RMI Certificate student, and AJ Gallagher intern

A Dynamic Curriculum for a Dynamic Industry

The Vaughan Institute’s RMI certificate curriculum includes five courses covering risk management and insurance from both consumer and business perspectives. Our highly qualified and dedicated faculty blend academic content with practical experiences that illustrate the realities of the risk management and insurance world.

“All of the classes were very beneficial because of their hands-on practical applications. The classes were well targeted and I appreciated the balance between finance and risk management. I learned more in Corporate & Financial Risk Management than in any other insurance class.”
Ye Sun, BBA09 Finance and RMI Certificate, Wells Fargo Underwriting, Central Loan Approval Office

Core Courses

Principles of Insurance*
In the past year, nearly 300 students completed this introductory consumer-oriented course. They examine basic risk management concepts and learn about the various insurance coverage and employee benefit plans they will encounter.

Corporate & Financial Risk Management
This course studies the analysis and treatment of pure and financial risks faced by businesses. It focuses on integrated risk management and how contracts and firms can be designed to allow for efficient allocation, management, and pricing of risk.

“The curriculum is fresh and at the cutting edge of theory and practice. It has been developed with an understanding of the significant changes taking place in risk management. The Corporate and Financial Risk Management course synthesizes finance and risk management, teaching them in an integrated fashion.”
J. Tyler Leverty, Associate Professor of Finance and TRISTAR Risk Management Fellow

Elective RMI Courses

(students must complete two)

Property & Liability Insurance*
Students are taught the fundamentals of commercial and individual property & liability insurance, including the financial and legal aspects of risk management. The text for this course is also used for the initial CPCU exam.

Life & Health Insurance*
This course focuses on the various life and health insurance products, regulation of insurers, and financial planning via life insurance products.

“In this dynamic industry, my goal is to enable students to take abstract concepts and apply them in real situations. Through team teaching and learning, we equip them with the problem-solving skills they’ll need throughout their careers.”
Phil Brooks, Adjunct Lecturer

Employee Benefit Plans
This course addresses important issues in employee benefit plans through instruction and practical experience. In the hands-on component, student teams prepare an employee benefit plan for a firm with financial or employment constraints and present it to a panel of industry experts.

“Taking a financial perspective on employee benefit plans, we teach about the interplay between the benefits a company can control and those it cannot, such as FICA. This provides timely information with real-world applications.”
Scott Fisher, Adjunct Lecturer

Risk Modeling

Risk Modeling will be offered for the first time in spring 2013. This spreadsheet-based course surveys the principles of probability theory, mathematical finance, and actuarial science as they have developed for use in the quantitative analysis of important risk management problems. Theory is used to solve real-life practical problems taken from a diverse set of risk management applications. The applications are drawn from a variety of areas where risk analysis has become important including finance, insurance, corporate risk management, and personal financial planning.

*These courses also help prepare students for the state licensure exams. In addition to RMI courses, students take Introduction to Finance and three noninsurance electives to round out the 24-semester-hour curriculum.

Dedicated Faculty

The Vaughan Institute faculty and adjunct lecturers represent the best and brightest minds in the industry. Through their work and research, they stay abreast of current topics and share this knowledge with their students. This ensures that potential employees in insurance and risk management are well educated and informed.

    Thomas Berry-Stoelzle, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Finance, TRISTAR Risk Management Fellow
    Richard Peter, PhD., Assistant Professor
    Philip Brooks, J.D., Adjunct Lecturer (Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman, PLC)
    Scott Fisher, J.D., Adjunct Lecturer (Mercer Administration)
    Bob Fulwider, MS, Adjunct Lecturer, CEO, Bob Fuliders and Associates


Connect with the Vaughan Institute through one of the following networks, events, or programs.

Vaughan Institute News

—General updates accessible online or via email.

Student News

—A site and weekly email to inform RMI students of events, news, and deadlines. Employers are encouraged to submit information.


—Discuss and post jobs and news by joining the group, “Vaughan Institute Alumni Network” at

Golf Outings

—Join us in Iowa City each August for the Dana Ramundt Insurance Education Foundation golf outing to network with students, professionals, faculty, and staff to raise funds for RMI scholarships. Contact Dana Ramundt for more information.

— In May each year, the Greater Quad Cities RIMS Chapter sponsors a golf outing at the Geneva Golf and Country Club in Muscatine to benefit the institute. Contact Hal Larson for more information.

Networking Trips & Events

—The Vaughan Institute and Pomerantz Career Center have sponsored student trips to Des Moines, Dubuque, and Cedar Rapids.

Mentoring Program

—Gamma Iota Sigma, the Greater Quad Cities RIMS Chapter, and the Vaughan Institute work together to match students with industry professionals.

Student Resume Book

—Employers can easily access this growing online collection of student resumes by contacting the institute for a password.