Stansberry, Robert

Portrait of Robert Stansberry

Associate Professor - Education

Department Chair of Education

My desire to become a teacher did not begin until I was halfway through my undergraduate degree program at Newberry College in South Carolina. I had always been interested in the concept of how humans learn and my educational psychology course, in particular, piqued my interest in teaching. I was majoring in Psychology and decided to minor in Secondary Education to obtain a teaching license in Social Studies. After becoming the first person in my family to graduate from college, my teaching career was postponed by five years in the Air Force. However, while in the military, I was able to complete a master’s degree in Counseling from Ball State University while I was stationed in Italy. After I was discharged, I took my first teaching position as a middle school teacher of students with emotional disturbance. Working with these students, I found that I could apply knowledge and skills from my psychology undergraduate degree, as well as the counseling skills from my graduate degree. After working in the classroom for several years, I had the opportunity to supervise a program for severely emotionally disturbed adolescents. Although stressful, this position gave me the opportunity to work on the administrative end of education and I loved it. I completed an Ed.S. in Special Education Administration at Georgia State University and eventually an Ed.D. in Educational Administration at the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!!) I completed both of these degrees while working full-time – first as a special education director in a small south Georgia school district, then an educational consultant at the Georgia Department of Education and, finally, as a special education director in a large suburban school district near Atlanta.

In the mid-90s, I left public education, and began teaching at MacMurray College, a small liberal arts college in mid-state Illinois. While at MacMurray, I led the development of our Introduction to College program, modeled after Dr. John N. Gardner’s University 101 program at the University of South Carolina. At the end of the decade, I took a faculty position at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida. It was at UWF where I began work in the middle school and was introduced to James Beane’s concept of Integrated Curriculum. An integrated curriculum is one that connects different areas of study by cutting across subject-matter lines and emphasizing unifying concepts. The type of curriculum makes connections for students, allowing them to engage in relevant, meaningful activities that can be connected to real life. I found that not only would this concept be relevant to middle school, but it would also apply to any grade levels and even college classes.  

I came to Carroll in 2001 as an assistant professor in Teacher Education with emphasis in special education. I led the development of the Teacher Development Portfolio that I had developed in Florida. The portfolio assessment integrated the duties and responsibilities of a teacher and asked students to select those activities that best demonstrated those duties and responsibilities. It was a step toward authentic assessment of our future teachers. In 2013, I retired from Carroll, but I could not stay away and I returned to Carroll in the fall of 2017 as Director of the Teacher Education and Department Chair. The past two years have seen changes in our secondary programs and we have been “reworking” our elementary program as we prepare for our next accreditation visit in spring 2021. I continue to be impressed with the caliber of students we have at Carroll.

On a personal note, my wife and I first visited Montana in the summer of 2000 and we were hooked. When we moved to Helena in 2001, we knew Helena would become our permanent home. I am not much of an outdoorsman, but I do love to play golf and often I merely stand in awe of the beautiful place that I call home.