2020 Thoburn Award for Excellence in Teaching — Heather Moore Roberson

Heather Moore Roberson
Heather Moore Roberson, Ph.D.

Since joining the Allegheny College faculty in 2015, Professor Heather Moore Roberson has exemplified what it means to be an inspirational role model. An associate professor of community & justice studies and Black studies, she is known as a warm, committed mentor who challenges her students to excel. Moreover, Professor Roberson makes a point to be available and offer encouragement to her students.

“She went absolutely above and beyond to ensure that each and every student’s voice was heard and that we felt empowered to share our thoughts about our readings and course content together,” says Megan Arnold ’19. “Professor Roberson created a space that encouraged people to listen harder when they disagree and that allowed students to be vulnerable and step out of their comfort zone.”

Professor Roberson is masterful at teaching complex subjects in an engaging way. Alumni note that she presents new research, delves into current events, and assigns books from marginalized authors to emphasize injustices through clear instruction. She also provides extensive, thoughtful feedback to each assignment to help students improve their writing and speaking skills.

In addition, Professor Roberson frequently accompanies students to national conferences to expand their horizons and refine their research and presentation abilities. In several classes, she also incorporates an interactive aspect for students to get involved with the Meadville community.

“She has such a vast understanding of American culture, and what it means to be part of a community, that she is the most qualified professor I ever learned under,” said Lucie Shiffman ’19. “Not only do her courses discuss difficult topics, like what it means to be a citizen, and how to participate in your community while embracing civility, but she finds ways to engage students in ways beyond a regular class.”

Professor Roberson has served as a faculty mentor for the Men of Color Advancement Association; Phi Beta Sigma, a historically Black fraternity; and Zeta Phi Beta, a historically Black sorority. Beyond campus, she is an active member of the Mu Nu Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She is also an alumna and faculty member for the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers in Andover, Massachusetts.

“It is abundantly clear to me that she is the rare educator,” says Associate Professor of Psychology Lydia Eckstein of Professor Roberson. “In fact, she fully models to her students what she expects of them: utter professionalism, enthusiasm, curiosity, and care. She is a truly exceptional educator who is fiercely dedicated, deeply respected, and accomplished.”