Patricia (Trish) Robbins, Ph.D. always dreamed of being a teacher; however, as a very shy and quiet child and young adult, this did not seem possible. With true Grizzly grit and determination Robbins conquered her fear of public speaking and achieved her lifelong goal to teach, due in large part to Adams State University.
“The instructors and professors at Adams State are the ones who made my dream a reality,” Robbins said. She retired as emeritus professor of business in the summer of 2020.
Growing up in a rural area and a first-generation college student, Robbins shared a similar background with many of her students. “As each semester began, during the first week of class, I would have students introduce themselves and share some information about their lives. Then it was my turn to share my story as a first-generation, non-traditional student. They would ask a lot of questions about how I achieved my goals. This really helped to build rapport with new students.”
There are three professors that inspired her with their passion for teaching. Julie Campbell (emeritus professor of business) was a strict business professor, but Robbins learned so much from taking several of her classes, she continued to enroll in Campbell’s summer workshops even after graduating. Carl Coolbaugh (emeritus professor of business) had a great sense of humor, patient, and made learning accounting fun.
She minored in English while a student. “Dr. Cole Foster (emeritus professor of English) was hands-down the best in that department. He shared so much personally and pushed me to be the best writer possible, it was hard to get an A out of him. By the time I graduated from Adams State with a BA, I knew I could teach, and had the confidence to continue graduate degrees.”
She paid the lessons forward she learned from her favorite Adams State professors. She encouraged her students to believe in themselves, to always do the right thing, and to never settle for less. “I told them: ‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and always be humble and kind.”
Soon after graduating summa cum laude in 1993 with her bachelor’s degree in business administration/secondary education, Robbins completed a master’s degree from Adams State and received her doctorate in education from Kennedy Western University in 1999.
Her first college faculty position was as assistant professor of business at Trinidad State Junior College, Alamosa campus. She rose through the academic ranks to full professor and served as the TSJC division chair of the Medical Assisting Program and Coordinator for Outreach Education.
After 14 years at the junior college, Robbins needed a new challenge. When a position with her alma mater was advertised, she applied. “I believed that a teaching position at ASU would provide the challenge I was seeking—and I was correct.” However, it was a temporary post.
“I took a leap of faith and accepted. It was like a dream come true! I was excited and ready to prove myself in this new phase of my career. This excitement remained throughout my teaching career at ASU—I loved being in the classroom and working with students. Teaching is truly rewarding, because I feel I made an impact on young people.”
Liz Thomas Hensley, Ph.D. and professor of business/School of Business chair, was hired the same year as Robbins. “I admire Pat’s consistency, fairness, reliability, and overall concern for her students and colleagues.”
During her 12 years at Adams State, Robbins was promoted to assistant professor, to associate professor, to professor. She served as School of Business Department chair for four-and-a-half years. “I could always count on Pat to share joy and pleasure in times of accomplishment and be a sounding board in times of frustration,” Hensley added. “I am a much better chair now because of her guidance and strong example she set for me.”
Along with teaching introductory to advanced level business classes at Adams State, Robbins served on committees, was a curriculum supervisor for student teachers, served on the admission interview panel for teacher education, reviewed business plans for the Small Business Development Center, provided input for policies, and volunteered with the free tax service.
Robbins shared her enthusiasm and expertise with students outside the classroom. She was the Phi Beta Lambda advisor for three years and chartered Sigma Beta Delta (international honor society for business and management students) and served as advisor for eight years. She has received several awards and recognitions including the 2015 Mountain Plains Business Education Association Collegiate Teacher of the Year; the 2013 Colorado Business Educators BEST Award; and three different awards as the TSJC Phi Theta Kappa advisor.
Robbins has presented at professional conferences and has been published in several peer-reviewed publications. She is a current member of the Alamosa Live Music Association and the Adams State University Friends of Music. She served as president of the Colorado Business Educators Executive Board of Directors, is an honorary member of Phi Theta Kappa, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; the Humane Society of the United State, the National Business Education Association, the Mountain Plains Business Education Association, and the Colorado Business Educators Association.
Her retirement plans include traveling to warm climates and taking in live music and theater with her husband, Jim Robbins. “I now have the time to read more books, volunteer in the community, and write when inspiration hits. I will continue to teach in the Distance Learning program at Adams State as long as I feel I have knowledge to share.”