Robinson gets top honors

Published 1:37 pm Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) professor from Cartersville who’s been working to offer the most opportunities for students to thrive was recently recognized by the college for his achievements.

Bruce Robinson

Bruce Robinson received the 2017 Distinguished Service Award, given to faculty or staff members at the college who engage in offering services to the college and its students.

Robinson’s award focused on his involvement with the college’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society, a national organization that provides benefits and opportunities for college students with high academic achievements.

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Robinson began his career at PVCC in 1979 as an accountant, later becoming an associate professor in the college’s information technology, business, mathematics and technologies division.

Robinson began working with the PTK chapter as a co-adviser in the early ‘90s. He said membership was sparse when he began. Seeing the opportunities students could receive being in the program, Robinson was driven to improve the college’s chapter and have more students on board.    

“We needed to start rebuilding the organization,” Robinson said. 

Robinson built the PTK chapter, officially titled Alpha Epsilon Tau, from a one-star chapter — the lowest category for a chapter — to a five-star chapter this year, the highest category a chapter can obtain.

The five-star rating allows PTK student officers at PVCC to travel to national conventions.

“That’s something that two-year college students don’t necessarily get an opportunity to do,” Robinson said.

Students in PTK also work on community service and social projects in Charlottesville, where PVCC is located. An induction ceremony and picnic honors PTK members each year.

Robinson noted that some four-year colleges and universities offer a minimum amount of scholarship funds for transcripts indicating students are PTK members.

In addition to receiving the Distinguished Service Award, Robinson had also received the PTK 2017 Adviser Horizon Award, presented to advisers who participate in regional and international programs and have attained new levels of chapter achievement, according to a news release from PVCC detailing Robinson’s achievement.

“I’ve tried my best — especially since becoming a full-time faculty member in 1990 — to advance academics for all students and tried to be a mentor to the students here at PVCC,” Robinson said. “So when I found out that someone had nominated me for the Distinguished Service Award, I didn’t realize at the time it was because of the work I had done with (PTK),” he said, noting he had received the news at an event in the spring.

“Once the award was announced and stated that the work I had done with PTK was one of the main reasons why I was nominated, it felt very gratifying to know that the work that I had put in trying to rebuild the chapter — trying to move it from a one-star chapter to a five-star chapter is a task that I was working on — we were able to do that.”

He noted he worked in the chapter with co-adviser Kit Decker, a professor in the Spanish, humanities, fine arts and social sciences division of the college.

PVCC President Dr. Frank Friedman noted Robinson’s achievement, crediting him with allowing hundreds of students to enter an organization that benefited their academic futures.

“He’s an outstanding mentor of students and he has provided the leadership for the last 20 years… for our PTK Honor Society, and in that role he has taken the chapter from a fledgling chapter to the highest level of achievement of PTK chapters, which is a five-star chapter,” Friedman said.

Friedman noted Robinson also held an integral role in establishing a collegewide mentoring program for PVCC this year in which faculty members have volunteered to mentor between one to two students.