Barbara Robertson, a lecturer of political science, was awarded Perimeter College’s 2020 Junior Faculty Award during the February 2020 Faculty Development Day.
Below is a Q & A with Robertson on her passion for teaching. Profiles of the other three faculty honored: Polly Bouker, senior faculty award winner; Carmen Bernal, adjunct faculty award winner, and Dr. Sheryl Shanholtzer, Cole Fellow, will follow in upcoming Perimeter Post articles.
What’s the most exciting thing for you as a teacher?
For me, the most exciting thing about teaching is seeing (students’) intellectual growth on an individual level, especially among students who start out struggling and with lower confidence. When they are able to answer questions in class, ask intellectual questions and go from an F on the first test to a B or A on the second, I smile all day. Overall, I enjoy being part of a process to create civically aware and active young adults and to be a step for them in the direction of lifelong fulfillment and financial security. I want them to have the same — or more — opportunities and enjoyment in their careers that I have been fortunate enough to enjoy.
What is the hardest part about teaching?
Having to decide what you can’t teach is one of the hardest parts of being a professor, in my opinion, especially in social science disciplines such as political science. Additionally challenging is having to manage my own workload and stress. I want to expose students to information and opportunities through the course content, creative assignments, and events or activities outside of the course, such as visits or collaborations with civic leaders in their community and state.
I tend to do too much and find myself under a lot of stress trying to juggle so much because I love what I do. I would love to do a study abroad, but my kids are young, so that may have to wait.
What is your passion?
I’m most passionate about teaching students to care about their government and issues around them and to understand so they are informed citizens. In doing so, I want to help develop citizens that are able to understand and evaluate information and work hard to keep the democracy we have. We must never take it for granted. Second, I want them to succeed — I want that for any human being because it means happiness and security.