Nationally recognized scholar joins the School of Education’s reading/literacy faculty
September 6, 2021
Robertson earned a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a doctoral degree in developmental studies: literacy and language from Boston University. His areas of expertise include classroom discourse and oral language, comprehension instruction, reading and writing challenges, literacy coaching, and teacher professional learning.
Robertson most recently served as an associate professor and the Everett D. and Elizabeth Lantz Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Wyoming, where he established a strong national reputation as a scholar and leader in his discipline. There he also served as executive director of the Literacy Research Center and Clinic between 2015 and 2021.
“Dr. Robertson will be a tremendous asset both to the School of Education and the commonwealth of Virginia,” said Heidi Mesmer, a professor of literacy at Virginia Tech and chair of his search committee. “His 11 years of K–12 teaching significantly inform his scholarship and teaching. He is an accomplished scholar in literacy coaching, has directed and funded a large reading clinic, and serves on the board of the International Literacy Association, an organization of some 300,000 members worldwide.”
Robertson also serves on the Board of Directors of the Literacy Research Association, a community of literacy scholars dedicated to rigorous research that enriches the knowledge, understanding, and development of lifespan literacies in a multicultural and multilingual world.
“Dr. Robertson is a leading scholar in the field and an exemplary teacher, having earned several teaching awards in his career,” said Kristin Gehsmann, director of the School of Education and herself a professor of reading/literacy studies. “I look forward to working with him to launch our new undergraduate elementary education major and to reimagine our graduate programs in reading/literacy education. It’s an exciting time to be part of the School of Education community!”
For the past six years, Robertson has spent much of his professional time in schools and clinical contexts working with teachers and children in agentive ways to advance evidence-tested and equitable instructional practices. He is currently helping to develop a dual immersion curriculum on the Wind River Reservation in an effort to revitalize the Northern Arapaho language and culture. He is also a contributing author to the International Literacy Association’s “Standards for Reading Professionals,” as well as several books for educators.
In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Robertson has been playing drums professionally since the age of 16, earning a bachelor’s in music performance from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has performed in jazz and fusion combos and big bands, rock bands, country bands, and hip-hop bands throughout New England and New York.
“I look forward to the next phase of my career at Virginia Tech, collaborating with the School of Education’s esteemed faculty, and supporting the educators and families of Blacksburg and the surrounding communities,” Robertson said.
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Written by Sharon Stidham