2016 - Dr. Karen Robert

Department of History
BA (Queen's), MA and PhD (Michigan)

Dr. Karen Robert is a professor in the Department of History who holds a BA from Queen’s and an MA and PhD from the University of Michigan. She sees teaching as a creative endeavor and works to inspire in her students a passion for history and an understanding that ordinary people are capable of bringing about change. She teaches courses on World History, Colonial and Modern Latin America, Gender and Power in Latin America, and the Global History of the Automobile. Dr. Robert continues to research best teaching practices and works to foster a collaborative classroom environment where students analyze real-world problems through the skills of historical thinking. Her goal is to establish a rapport with her students, encouraging them to share their own ideas and personal experiences, even while she pushes them to step outside their comfort zones and engage with cultures very different from their own. Dr. Robert provides students with extensive guidance about assignments, directing them through the research and writing process. The workload in her courses is challenging with weekly readings, quizzes, commentaries, short papers, in-class participation, and exams. She inspires her students to engage with the excitement of creating new knowledge and to understand that research and writing both involve a measure of uncertainty and risk-taking. Even with twenty years of teaching experience, she is always looking for approaches that will make the classroom experience more meaningful. “I firmly believe that the best teacher is not a teacher at all, but a fellow learner,” said a student nominator. “What makes Karen such a phenomenal teacher is that she’s constantly learning, never believes she has all the answers, and will get down on your level to uncover some new questions and new answers together.”