Bob Nicholson, Ph.D., is perhaps one of the few seasoned professors who can say he started working at the University when the defining Robins donation was given.

After 38 years of teaching and currently serving as Associate Dean of the Robins School, Nicholson still loves his job and coming to work every day.  Nicholson holds a bachelor’s in agricultural economics from the University of Delaware and a master’s in agricultural economics and doctorate in economics from North Carolina State University. 

Nicholson started in the management department in the Robins School for his first few years before moving to the economics department where he currently teaches two sections of Business Statistics each semester.  Even though Nicholson teaches the same subject each semester, each new class of students prohibits his course from being routine.

“The job’s always different.  Even though I’m teaching the same titled course every semester, [teaching is] a way to keep yourself sharp because students are always asking new questions,” he said. 

While Nicholson serves as Associate Dean, he still enjoys being in the classroom and interacting with his students.  “I was very fortunate to teach and realize I really liked it.  Particularly in statistics, it’s a challenge to teach it so students like and comprehend what you’re talking about,” he said.

To help students comprehend the material, Nicholson tries to keep it simple.  “My teaching philosophy is to try to present statistical topics clearly,” he said.

One challenge in teaching statistics is that, while every business school student must take the class, the material does not explicitly relate to all topics students are learning in their respective majors. Nicholson’s practices convey statistical concepts clearly “by just going over and over them, more so in my head than writing what I am going to say,” he said. 

In his role as Associate Dean, Nicholson faces different challenges, such as dealing with student class scheduling.  He handles anything from scheduling classes for students to dropping and adding classes, as well as making decisions on class overrides.  Nicholson also works with students transferring into the Robins School from other colleges and universities.

While student scheduling conflicts can certainly be stressful, Nicholson enjoys the feeling of satisfaction that he gets once he has helped solve a student’s problem.  “I really like this job and dealing with the students, solving their problems and feeling like I’ve accomplished something at the end of the day,” he said. 

Juggling the responsibilities of an administrator with the responsibilities of a professor brings satisfaction to Nicholson in two ways; “If you’ve had a good class while you were teaching and you’ve dealt with some student situation (and you figure it out), then you feel better,” he said.

Nicholson also serves on the Robins School’s Academic Council, and is the point-person for the Robins School’s Student Government Association and for Beta Gamma Sigma fraternity.  He was also the first recipient of the Academic Advisor Excellence Award in 2007 for his long-term commitment to student advising.