Nov. 17, 2009
Contact: Tom Tozer, 615-898-2919
MTSU BUSINESS PROFESSOR WINS TEACHING AWARD, SBEA LEADERSHIP ROLE
MURFREESBORO, TENN—Dr. Sherry Roberts, an MTSU assistant professor of business communication in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University, recently was awarded the 2009 Southern Business Education Association Collegiate Teacher of the Year and will serve as SBEA president for the 2010 term.
Roberts has been teaching for 24 years, serving as a full-time college professor for 10 years. She taught at Eastern Kentucky University for eight years and was a visiting instructor last year in EKU’s business college while she completed her doctorate at the University of Louisville. Prior to that, she taught for eight years at Clark-Moores Middle School in Richmond.
She was a nominee for the SBEA Collegiate Teacher of the Year award four other years and said she was excited to finally win.
“It was really kind of disbelief when I first found out,” Roberts said. “It’s almost recognition of the 24 years of effort, 24 years of believing that business education is truly a good profession, a meaningful profession.
“And I do mean a profession, because I don’t see it as a job,” she continued. “A job is something you go to every day whether you care or don’t care, and a profession is what you believe deep down inside in, and I believe in my profession. I believe in being a business educator.”
Roberts said she was one of the first three women to graduate from Central Methodist College in Fayette, Mo., with a degree in business administration. At the time, she said, women usually graduated with a nursing, teaching or secretarial degree.
Roberts said she has always been passionate about business, but after eight years of retail management she turned to what she calls the family business—teaching.
Roberts’s parents are both retired teachers who now work full time supervising student teachers. She also has a brother, a sister and a brother-in-law who teach at the collegiate level.
“I love teaching,” Roberts said. “I’ve always felt like I’m a business person who happens to be a teacher.”
Roberts said that apart from her parents, Mrs. Saunders, a high-school history teacher, influenced her by making learning fun and doing more than just lecturing.
Prior to teaching college students, Roberts taught students from kindergarten to senior citizens. She said she doesn’t know which age or grade she likes to teach the best.
“Each one has its own reward,” Roberts said. “I think you get something different from each one of them.”
She applied for a teaching position at MTSU three times before being accepted. She was persistent, she said, because she wanted to be a part of the accomplished group of people in the Department of Business Communication and Entrepreneurship.
Roberts said it’s been a crazy year. In addition to her winning the SBEA Collegiate Teacher of the Year award and being named the 2010 SBEA president, she co-authored and published her first book, Personal Financial Literacy, which is being used in high schools throughout the country. But Roberts said her greatest accomplishment comes from her students.
“I think the greatest accomplishment you can have is to have one of them become successful,” Roberts said. “I like that the best of anything. I think that’s the best award I could ever get. I would rather have that than anything.”
Roberts is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. John (Jean) Roberts of Richmond.
With three Nobel Prize winners among its alumni and former faculty, Middle Tennessee State University confers master’s degrees in 10 areas, the Specialist in Education degree, the Doctor of Arts degree and the Doctor of Philosophy degree. MTSU is ranked among the top 100 public universities in the nation in the Forbes “America’s Best Colleges” 2009 survey.