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Dr. Richard Robbins Named Teacher of the Year

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ Dr. Richard Robbins, distinguished teaching professor of anthropology at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, has been recognized with the American Anthropological Association (AAA)/ McGraw Hill Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and named Teacher of the Year.

Dr. Richard Robbins "It is always nice to be recognized and praised, whether by parents or peers, or whoever," Robbins said. "I think, among other things, it validates my decision to focus a career on teaching largely undergraduates at a publicly funded college. I've been fortunate to work with colleagues who share that dedication, and the recognition has as much to do with their commitment to teaching as it does to mine."

Robbins has spent his entire teaching career at SUNY Plattsburgh, arriving as an instructor in 1966. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1969, to associate professor in 1972 and to full professor in 1996. In 2002, he was named SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Anthropology. He also received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1977.

He has written award-winning textbooks, including Cultural Anthropology: A Problem Based Approach , published by Wadsworth, which is in its fourth edition. Cultural Anthropology won the Textbook and Academic Author's Association Award as the best book in the social sciences and humanities in 1994.

Robbins also wrote the book, Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism , published by Allyn & Bacon, which is in its third edition. This book was selected by Choice: The Journal of the Association of College and Research Libraries as an outstanding academic title in 1999. In 2004, his book, Talking Points on Global Issues: A Reader , was published by Allyn & Bacon.

In his textbooks, Robbins emphasizes active learning through anthropological principles in social problem solving and demonstrates to students the institutional roots of global inequality, challenging them to become "citizen activists."

Robbins and his family, wife Amy Valentine (City Councilor) and daughter Rebecca, will travel in November to Washington, D.C., where he will accept the award at the Association's annual meeting.

The award was created in 1997 "to recognize teachers who have contributed to and encouraged the study of anthropology. The successful teacher of anthropology is at the core of producing successful anthropologists."

The AAA, with more than 11,000 members worldwide, is the largest association of professional anthropologists in the world.

Nominees come from colleges and universities across the country. And while Robbins said he was aware he had been nominated, "the award nevertheless was a big surprise, and, obviously, was very gratifying and a little humbling."
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