March 1-3, 2006
ITEM 130-1013-R0306 Authorization to Confer the Titles of Dean Emeritus of the School of Education and Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership and Counseling Upon Dr. Donald R. Robson; The University of Montana-Missoula
THAT: Professor Donald R. Robson, after many years of dedicated service to The University of Montana, has merited the commendation of the Board of Regents of the Montana University System and has earned the titles of Dean Emeritus of the School of Education and Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership.
EXPLANATION: When Don Robson earned his Ph.D. in educational administration from Michigan State University, he had already been a high school teacher and principal. Consequently, he was uniquely poised to enter academe as a faculty member teaching future educational administrators, a role he fulfilled at both the beginning and end of his career. Dr. Robson was hired first at Purdue University, where he taught educational administration, published in all the premiere journals of the field, and directed doctoral dissertations. However, he and his wife Rosalie were drawn to the West; so they moved to Bozeman where Don accepted the position of Director of the Division of Educational Research at Montana State University in concert with a tenure-track faculty line teaching educational leadership. In 1990, The University of Montana selected Don to become Dean of Education, a position he held until 2000, when he was recruited to serve as Associate Provost. For the past two years, Don has returned to the professorate in Educational Leadership.
Dr. Robson has made contributions of incalculable worth to the State of Montana at large and to The University of Montana specifically. Don worked tirelessly in concert with the Office of Public Instruction to establish new guidelines for Montana principal and superintendent certification, and he was largely attributed with leading both MSU and UM in efforts to match their master’s degree curricula to the new administrative rules. His work with Montana schools on such things as enrollment studies, school consolidation analyses, and most recently, with regard to school finance have given him a reputation as a true statesman in the field of K-12 education. This role has been expanded well beyond Montana and is most evident in his election to the Board of Directors of Northwest Regional Education Labs and years of service to that prestigious entity.
Always one to believe in close connections between K-12 and higher education, Don has also been committed for many years to NCATE accreditation, and he has assessed numerous education programs in universities throughout the United States. Throughout his career he has maintained an outstanding research agenda, having published in all the tier-one journals in his field.
As an academic administrator, Don Robson has few parallels. His collaborative leadership style was characterized by a contagious joie de vivre, and he represented the School of Education locally, nationally, and internationally with great gusto. A valued member of
Montana’s Education Forum, he helped shape the policies and practices affecting public schools and maintained a “big picture” perspective on problem solving. These skills also served the University, where he was responsible for contract oversight and assisted Deans and the Provost in strategic planning in his work as Associate Provost.
Upon returning to the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling as Professor, Dr. Robson revitalized and revamped the unit’s program in higher education. In addition, he has participated in the Division of Educational Research Services’ grant for Safe Schools, and he simultaneously continues to direct doctoral students’ research and dissertations. His contributions over the course of the previous two years match those made throughout his career, and the unit is most grateful for his intellectual gifts and positive collegial energy.
The School of Education and the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling is honored to recommend Dr. Donald R. Robson for Emeritus status.