Wendell C. Roberts, adjunct associate professor of education in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, was named the 2018 Itzkowitz Family Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Award recipient during SPCS Night, the school’s annual awards and recognition ceremony. He delivered brief remarks to the graduates at the School’s Commencement Exercises on May 12, 2018.

As recipient of the Itzkowitz Family Distinguished Adjunct Faculty award, Roberts joins a growing list of adjunct professors selected by the School’s students to receive the award. This award is among only two awards conferred upon adjunct faculty by the School — the other is the SPCS Innovations in Teaching award. Students nominate eligible adjunct professors (those who have taught in the previous summer, fall, and/or spring terms) and write a brief statement in support of their nominee. The award recipient is selected from among those nominated by the full-time faculty members of the School.

Recipients of the Itzkowitz Family award are given an opportunity to address graduating students at SPCS Commencement Exercises. During his address, Roberts identified two special aspects of students' experience at the University of Richmond: first, predicting that the SPCS education of today is what all higher education will look like in the future, and second, that SPCS graduates have lived and learned “collaboration.”

Roberts predicted that most higher education experiences in the future will become part-time experiences that combine work and school, reminding students that “Many of you have successfully blended your studies with your jobs — and that is the future of college education.”

Roberts continued with this claim: “Your experience combining workplace practice and classroom theory is what is on the horizon for colleges everywhere. The degree from SPCS and your presence here today leaves you perfectly poised to handle what comes on the road ahead.”

Regarding collaboration, Roberts reminded graduating students that “both government and industry now recognize the importance of collaboration to success in the workplace.” And then he pointed to the important role collaboration plays at SPCS.

“Our school has long recognized ‘the power of each other,’” he reminded his listeners. “And the evidence of your collaboration is sitting before me right now.”

“Look to your fellow graduates to the left and to the right,” he told the graduates. “They are your partners in the road ahead.”

Roberts knows something about blending studies and jobs: he earned an M.B.A. from Drexel University and a J.D. degree from Northeastern University School of Law as a nontraditional student.

And he knows something about the power of partnership and collaboration: as Roberts closed his remarks, he credited the personal partnership with his wife, Cheryl, and the professional partnership with his mentor, Dave Myers, for helping become the accomplished educator and professional he is today.

In earning the Itzkowitz Family Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Award, Roberts received a University chair emblazoned with a brass plaque naming him the 2018 award recipient.

Roberts’ Commencement Address

Video starts at Provost Legro’s introduction.