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Experienced Educator Robyn Honored with Outstanding Teaching Award

Posted Feb. 7, 2011
Richard Robyn

Richard Robyn, Ph.D., professor of political science and director of the Washington Program in National Issues, was recently honored with the university's Outstanding Teaching Award. The award honors full-time, non-tenure track and part-time faculty and is sponsored by the University Teaching Council. This prestigious award is presented annually to three faculty members who consistently showcase outstanding skills in classroom teaching.

Robyn has been working in education for more than four decades and started his career teaching in Thailand for the Peace Corps. He received dual master's degrees in applied linguistics and international relations from Ohio University and his doctorate in political science from Kent State University. He currently teaches American Politics and International Organization and Law classes, which are two of the most popular classes in the Department of Political Science.

Robyn marvels at the impact teaching can have in the lives of both students and the teacher. "It's a true synergy - I am learning from them as they are learning from me. My students have really taught me a lot." He adds that Kent State has been a stimulating environment for teaching: "We have some great teachers here, especially in the Department of Political Science."

To help engage his students, Robyn enjoys incorporating technology like PowerPoint and video into his lectures and he encourages discussion in both his large lecture classes, as well as in his smaller classes.

He says he is extremely proud that the Outstanding Teaching Award helped bring attention to the Washington Program in National Issues - a program that he has directed for 10 years.

The program allows a selected group of Kent State students to travel and study in Washington, D.C., with Robyn for a semester. The program consists of three units: a Seminar in Political Process and Contemporary Issues, an Internship and a Cultural Heritage unit. The seminar consists of a class and briefings on current issues by professionals in the nation's capital, including political officials and even justices of the Supreme Court. For the internship, students are placed in a work environment suited to his or her interests or major. These have included such work sites as NASA and the offices of members of Congress. The Cultural Heritage unit introduces students to museums and exhibits throughout the city to enhance cultural awareness and diversity.

Robyn is still amazed by receiving the award, and looks forward to new discoveries both in the classroom and in the Washington Program.

"Winning the Outstanding Teaching Award was a great honor. It was very humbling. I think it will motivate me to keep up the work I'm doing."

For more information on the Outstanding Teaching Award, visit

By Erin Dwinnells