Amy Howard
Assistant Vice President of Community Initiatives and the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement

Dr. Amy Howard is assistant vice president of community initiatives and the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) and associated faculty in American Studies. She co-leads the CCE team with Sylvia Gale, working to institutionalize high quality, educationally grounded civic engagement. In her role, she represents the CCE and University regionally and nationally, working to build bridges and deepen relationships to further student learning, deepen faculty engagement, and partner with non-profit partners for social change.

The theme of engaged citizenship runs through her work. Howard has taught courses on urban history and American studies, including a Sophomore Scholars in Residence course, "Urban Americas". Howard's recent book, More Than Shelter: Activism and Community in San Francisco Public Housing, explores the history of tenant activism, community building, and racial and ethnic alliances in San Francisco public housing. She is currently working on a book about leadership and politics in Richmond, Virginia with Thad Williamson. She is also co-editing a book on urban history and public humanities contributions to community development with Robin Bachin.

In 2013, she chaired the housing task force of Mayor Dwight Jones' Maggie L. Walker Initiative for Expanding Opportunity and Fighting Poverty. She serves on the board of the Better Housing Coalition.

On campus she is a member of the Academic Affairs Leadership Team, the Deans and Directors working group in Student Development, and numerous committees.

She holds an A.B. with honors in history from Davidson College and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the College of William and Mary.

“Pagodas and Public Housing: Reexamining the 'Projects' in San Francisco's Chinatown,” Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Minnesota, Quadrant Visiting Scholar, Feb. 2010.
Community Service
  • Board of Directors, Better Housing Coalition
  • Board, Society for American City and Regional Planning History
  • Advisory Council, NextUp
Selected Publications

Twenty-First Century Richmond, co-authoring with Thad Williamson, book manuscript in process

More Than Shelter: Activism and Community in San Francisco Public Housing, University of Minnesota Press, April 2014


“This Bridge Called My Job: Translating, Revaluing, and Leveraging Intermediary Administrative Work” with Miriam Bartha, Megan Carney, Sylvia Gale, and Elizabeth Goodhue, in Public: A Journal of Imagining America, vol. 2, issue 2, 2014

“Planning Note: Public Art, Public Housing, and Community,” Journal of the America Planning Association, special issue, “American Public Housing at 75: Policy, Planning, and the Public Good,” December 2012
“Engaging the City: Civic Participation and Teaching Urban History,” Journal of Urban History, January 2010
“Bringing Life to Learning: Civic Engagement, Intersections, and Transforming College Students” with Juliette Landphair and Amanda Lineberry, in Campus Intersections: A Diversity and Inclusion Handbook for Individuals and Institutions in Higher Education, edited by Brooke Barnett and Peter Felton and (forthcoming Stylus, 2015)

Q&A with Amy Howard

What is your favorite/most meaningful book or film?

I have read Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man several times and it continues to both move and motivate me.

Where are you originally from?

Amarillo, Texas

What is your favorite restaurant or coffee shop in Richmond?

Richmond has so many great spots. My favorite coffeeshop is Kickstand in Scott's Addition and my favorite restaurant is Dutch and Company in Churchill.

What is your favorite place or thing to do in Richmond?

I have too many places I enjoy to choose just one: go a farmer's market and cook what we buy there; visit the James River and walk around Belle Isle; hang out at UR Downtown.

Why do you engage?

I engage because I want to live in a world that is just for all.

A.B., Davidson College
Ph.D., College of William and Mary
American Studies
Contact Information
(804) 484-1600