Howard graduated from Western Washington University in 1971 and entered an MA program in political science at the university. He later joined the Peace Corps and served as a Volunteer in Gabon (1974-77), continuing as Training Officer and Associate Director for Agriculture and Rural Development.
In 1981 he entered the graduate program in Policy Analysis at Indiana University, conducted research in Gabon on a Fulbright grant and received his Ph.D. at Indiana in 1987. At Indiana, he taught courses in public management in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and later came to the Institute to teach development and administration courses in International Policy Studies (1987-1990).
He returned to Peace Corps and served as Country Director in Zaire, Swaziland and Mali before accepting the position of Director of the Office of Programming and Training Support. When his time-limited appointment expired in 1997 Howard moved to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service where he served for eight years, first as Director of the Development Resources Division and later as the Agricultural Attaché in Islamabad, covering Pakistan and Afghanistan (2004-06).
In 2006 the Foreign Agricultural Service granted him a 5-year leave of absence to return to Peace Corps as Country Director in Jamaica, and later, to serve as Chief of the Field Assistance Division in Overseas Program and Training Support. Howard is once again at USDA, directing the Policy Coordination and Planning Staff in the Office of Capacity Building and Development in the Foreign Agricultural Service.