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Published April 22, 2019
Dana Robertson, the executive director of the University of Wyoming’s Literacy Research Center and Clinic (LRCC), has a knack for providing literacy direction and support to students, teachers and administrators across Wyoming.
That’s the honest assessment from Cynthia Brock, Wyoming excellence endowed chair in elementary literacy education, and Leigh Hall, Wyoming excellence endowed chair in adolescent literacy education.
“Not only has Dana provided distinguished contributions to teachers' literacy learning at the national and international levels; Dana works tirelessly to contribute to teachers' literacy learning at the state level as well,” they say.
Robertson has been teaching at UW since 2012. On top of advising graduate students, he also has taught several research classes.
Robertson is among three recipients of the John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award, established in 1977 by businessman John P. "Jack" Ellbogen, to "foster, encourage and reward excellence in classroom teaching at UW." Other Ellbogen winners are Scott Freng, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology and Pamela Langer, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Biology.”
Robertson has received many state, regional and national awards, but a campus colleague is more impressed with the way Robertson treats students across the university.
“Students in Dr. Robertson's courses are not just another ‘W’ number, the specific university number affiliated with each student on campus,” says Scott Chamberlin, associate director of faculty evaluation and performance in the College of Education. “Dr. Robertson does not merely invest attention in students' satisfaction with the course; he invests careful attention in his students' feelings, emotions and dispositions toward the course and learning goals.”
Current students of Robertson also have high praise for him and his deep knowledge of the curriculum he teaches.
“Without Dana's understanding of the nuances of teaching, and caring about students and content, I would not have been successful in the master's program,” says Chris Padesky, a doctoral student in curriculum and instruction.
Chris’ wife, Lauren Padesky, a doctoral candidate in literacy, has similar thoughts about the impact Robertson has made in her education.
“Dr. Robertson is the epitome of calculated acceptance -- tolerant of my many flaws, yet artfully intuitive about pushing me to the next level, the next project and the next harebrained idea I've concocted,” Lauren says. “I have absolutely no doubt that neither my partner nor I would be doctoral students today were it not for Dr. Robertson's powerful influence in our lives.”
Not only does Robertson have a heart for his students, but he also has a heart for learning.
“Dr. Robertson's own learning stance demonstrates to students that learning is never ending, but rather a continual cycle of reflection and growth,” says former student Kyla Schell. “I know I am not alone in saying that Dr. Robertson's teaching was some of the most memorable during my time as a graduate student at the University of Wyoming.”
Robertson received his Bachelor of Arts, music performance, from Berklee College of Music in 1996; his Master of Education, elementary education, from University of Massachusetts in 2001; and his Doctor of Education, developmental studies, literacy and language, from Boston University in 2012.