It is with great pride and pleasure that we present Dr. Robin Teske with the All Together One Award. Dr. Teske is an exemplary teacher and represents all that is great about JMU, serving as an inspiration to her students. She is known for her philosophy towards teaching in that teaching is about providing a full and a challenging experience for her students to allow them to think beyond what they had understood before, especially encouraging a great deal of discussion.
In her classes, she assigns well organized and well thought out and challenging readings that express often conflicting views. This shows her students a variety of different perspectives, enriching their learning experiences. She is one of those professors who push students to challenge themselves and their thinking, creating a classroom style of learning not only dependent on lectures. Students debate historical and contemporary issues in international relations, explore dynamics of conflict resolution, and explore a variety of contemporary issues in the capstone seminar. Some of the topics that she presents in her classes are as diverse as nonviolence, conflict resolution, environmental issues and international law, and her approach is highly interdisciplinary. It is this unbiased opinion that proves so valuable to study as it shows that all dialogues are welcome and that there are no right answers. By engaging her students in debate she creates a lively atmosphere, and above all, has the gift of making her students feel as if their ideas have been truly heard, which facilitates true learning. Although students acknowledge the heavy workload in her classes, students are rewarded by actually doing the reading! A demanding but inspiring teacher, she is highly in demand among students, with many begging for overrides into her classes, and she continually receives high evaluations in a department that is known for its many talented teachers.
It is not only the large amount of preparation that she puts into her classes that makes her such a compelling and extraordinary teacher, but also her attitude towards her students. She believes that students truly are the future. Her high expectations and confidence regarding them inspires her students to have high expectations about themselves, even once they have left JMU behind.
Dr. Teske holds a great belief that practical solutions to the world’s problems come from people who have lived in the real world, and not just studied it in books. This blend of practicality and academic rigor sets her apart and emphasizes her interest in the greater community. Many students have stated that she had changed their lives, and many of her students also keep in touch with her after graduation, even citing her as a major impact in their lives, long past their time at James Madison University and into their various careers. Dr. Teske has the added experience of the practice of international law, and she has served as an exemplary mentor to those interested in her field. While at JMU, she has also negotiated with the American Society of International Law to allow JMU students to attend their conference in Washington for a nominal fee. This is one of the many examples of how Dr. Teske goes above and beyond for her students to make sure they get the best experience and learning opportunities as possible out of their time at JMU.
Not only is Dr. Teske a wonderful teacher and mentor, but she has been involved in many community-building initiatives dealing with environmental sustainability, civic engagement, and nonviolent approaches to peace building, creating a sense of involvement on campus, but also within the larger community. She pushes herself and her students to get involved in the community in which they live and has worked for decades to advance humanitarian issues and equal rights issues at a local level. She often encourages her students to get involved by developing service projects or local internships that provide a benefit to the larger Harrisonburg community. Her engagement in the JMU community and her spirit of mentorship is a rare and a wonderful thing and truly exemplifies the spirit of All Together One at James Madison University.
Congratulations, Dr. Teske. Please come forward and receive your Award.