Faculty and students welcome Robertson

Michael Ford
Managing Editor

   The University of Arkansas at Monticello’s newest addition to their speech faculty, Rochelle Robertson, joined the university in fall 2004.

Photo by Michael Ford

Dr. Rochelle Robertson

   Robertson, a native of Hammond, Ind., earned her undergraduate degree in theater and creative writing, and her doctorate in speech from Southern Illinois University. After Robertson posted for positions on Critnet, Vice Chancellor David Ray contacted her concerning the job.

   “Dr. Robertson completed her dissertation her first semester here at UAM while teaching 15 hours of course work, and she did an excellent job,” said Erin O’Neill, dean of arts and humanities. “Finishing a dissertation, transitioning to a new home and learning the ins and outs of a new job are all stressful, and she handled all with grace and competence.”

   Speech and teaching always came naturally for Robertson. She won a speech contest in the spring of 1993, and her experience in the field of teaching dates back even further than that.

   “I always wanted to teach” Robertson said. “I used to give my stuffed animals worksheets and asked for a blackboard to teach my bears.”

   Although Robertson knew all along she wanted to be a teacher, she made it clear the job presented its share of challenges.

   “The hardest part is being able to give students what they need,” Robertson said. “Everybody comes in and some have a lot of experience, and some have never even given a speech. I have to make the text useful and interesting and appealing to the audience.”

   In her spare time, Robertson enjoys a number of hobbies: art, music, painting, reading and watercolor.

   “I just finished reading Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath two weeks ago, since I hadn’t read it since high school,” Robertson said. “Now I’m reading ‘Wally Lamb,’ which was a Christmas present. It’s an interesting story on schizophrenia.”

  Obesity runs in Robertson’s family; however, she exercises religiously to prevent herself from falling victim to the genetic threat.

  “I walk and jog once or twice a day, but not a long distance,” Robertson said. “I started yoga last year on my own. It calms your body, mind and spirit.”

   Robertson expressed her first-impressions of UAM students and faculty, and seems pleased with her new job environment.

   “I like the people,” Robertson said. “They’re dedicated, heartfelt, hardworking and honest. I feel warmly welcomed by the faculty. I’m just happy to be here.”

   According to O’Neill, they feel the same way about her.

   “Her students last fall seemed to really love her, and her colleagues all appreciate her cheerful demeanor,” O’Neill said. “She’s exceptionally bright and is focused on giving her students her absolute best. We are very fortunate to have her with us.”

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The Voice, 2005
Revised 050128 — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/2_9/robertson.htm