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UMW’s Sheila Roberts named emeritus professor.

May 25, 2016

Roberts retired at the end of this school year, completing 21 years of service to the university. The emeritus designation was for her work in environmental sciences.

“Sheila’s contribution to Montana Western has been exceptional,” Weatherby said. “Her determination and perseverance working with her colleagues and university administration to identify and implement our unique Experience One program is remarkable.”

Also called block scheduling, Experience One (X1) is Montana Western’s single-class-at-a-time teaching and learning model where students concentrate and focus on one course and then move on to the next.

Roberts co-authored the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) grant that launched the X1 pilot project that led to full implementation of program.

Montana Western remains the only U.S. public four-year university to offer the innovative program which emphasizes hands-on learning in real-world situations.

“Experience One has not only increased campus enrollment and saved it from potential closure, but also brought Montana Western a great deal of national recognition,” Rob Thomas, environmental sciences department chair, said. “We have her hard work and diligence to thank for our progress under X1.”

Thomas said Roberts is a very successful and popular professor at Montana Western. “She is well known by students as a passionate and caring educator,” Thomas said.

Roberts’ colleagues nominated her for the lifetime recognition which was approved at the last regular Board of Regents meeting.

She earned her doctorate of philosophy from the University of Calgary and joined the environmental sciences department at Montana Western in 1995. Roberts quickly ascended from associate professor to professor of geology and served as chair of the department from 2001 to 2003.

Roberts has been involved in geoscience public outreach and has led several GeoVenture field trips for the Geological Society of America. She co-authored many geological interpretative signs that are placed along the Lewis and Clark Trail in Montana.

Her work has been published nationally in geoscience publications including the Special Papers Volumes of the Geological Society of America.