CEEDAR Spotlight: Dr. Suzanne Robinson
Nov. 5, 2013
Dr. Suzanne Robinson is driven by an intense curiosity. Although she recalls teaching her dolls in a mock-classroom in her basement at age 4, she wasn’t always sure that research was going to be her life’s work. Her passion for educating teachers developed out of curiosity. While in college, sociology and anthropology stoked her interest. Those fields explore the depths of the human experience. They attempt to answer the “why” behind the status quo. Sometime later, Suzanne was working with a child who was struggling to read. At the time, she didn’t realize that the student likely had a learning disability, but her mind immediately jumped to the “why?”. However, even behind the “why?” the child was struggling was the bigger question of “how?”-how could she make a difference? Special Education research exists at the intersection between “why” and “how”. Her intense curiosity of why people think the way they do led her to want to understand how she could help students with learning disabilities and how she could help the teachers who teach those students.
Suzanne has always been a researcher who likes to stay close to teachers at the school level. When asked who was the biggest influence in directing her career goals, her answer was obvious, “The teachers have kept me on my path,” Suzanne claims. Keeping herself in the path of the people her research is influencing helps keep her mindful of current issues in teacher educator preparation. Aside from being influenced by the very people she seeks to help, Suzanne is thankful for Don Deshler’s encouragement in her career. He is a prolific and influential researcher who convinced her to come to the University of Kansas. Dr. Deshler is also a content area expert in our Disciplinary Literacy focus in CEEDAR.
The CEEDAR Center is fortunate to have Dr. Robinson on our team. She claims that the level of expertise involved in the CEEDAR Center’s collaboration is astronomical and due to the level of state involvement we are seeing, she believes she can be a part of CEEDAR having an enormously influential impact on teacher education. Suzanne’s curiosity also inspires he to explore the world. This year she plans to travel to Greece and Turkey while next year she plans to move on to Africa. She also loves the arts and cooking. She is always exploring how to perfect something she hasn’t yet mastered. This extends all the way from the classroom to the kitchen. Although one might make culinary assumptions based on her geographic location, Suzanne really isn’t into the Kansas City BBQ scene. She actually claims that her specialty is Mexican food although she has recently gone through a stage of perfecting how to bake the perfect tart. CEEDAR is certainly fortunate to have Suzanne on our team. Her curiosity to explore better ways of doing things surely contributes to our goal of creating opportunities to learn for teachers and leaders.