- Major: Business Administration
- Class Of: 1968, 1978
“ Providing fellowships to future teachers is an investment in K-12 students who are impacted by our PIE fellows and in turn encouraged to pursue their education ”
Dorothy Roberts’ father always encouraged her to go to college and become a teacher.
She graduated from college and eventually became the owner of an education-related publishing company, but never forgot her father’s words. Roberts is passing that same encouragement to the newest generation of educators.
Over the past 10 years, Roberts (’68 bachelor’s in business administration; ’78 master’s in business administration) has helped raise half a million dollars to fund fellowships for teaching-credential students. That’s a boon to students who often face a tough choice in their educational path.
One of the last steps before becoming a teacher is clinical practice — in-classroom experience that is the equivalent of full-time work. It doesn’t leave much time for a paying job, so many aspiring teachers finding themselves choosing between paying their bills or finishing the program.
“This is the best program we could offer future teachers because some students are unable to complete their credential program because of their work commitments and responsibilities,” Roberts says. “This fellowship has made the difference for some in completing their credentials. I believe this has helped guarantee their success as outstanding future teachers.”
The program she helped found, Partners In Education (PIE), has funded fellowships for 125 credential students. Each teaching fellow receives a $5,000 award.
Like learning a difficult subject, forming PIE did not take place overnight. The program began as an advisory group to the dean of the College of Education & Integrative Studies. Realizing that an advisory group was not as effective, Roberts and her peers worked tirelessly to become a fully functioning board that could put words into action.
Despite having her hands full as a business owner, Roberts still manages an active role as one of 15 members of PIE’s board of directors, serving as the chair of the development committee. Part of her responsibilities is to recruit advocates of education to support PIE’s initiatives.
“All of our donors are connected to education,” Roberts says. “Most of the donors are parents who understand the importance of good teachers.”
Roberts also has mentored at least seven students. In 2011, PIE established the Ambassador Program in which donors are assigned to mentor a student finishing clinical practice.
“PIE is an extension of what I love to do,” she says. “Providing fellowships to future teachers is an investment in K-12 students who are impacted by our PIE fellows and in turn encouraged to pursue their education. It is important to our economy and future.”