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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Cheryl Roberts

By Jonathan Resendez/reporter

Cheryl Roberts, the humanities division dean on Trinity River Campus, is in charge of editing the syllabi for more than 1,200 TCC courses.  Photo by Heather Bench/The Collegian
Cheryl Roberts, the humanities division dean on Trinity River Campus, is in charge of editing the syllabi for more than 1,200 TCC courses. Photo by Heather Bench/The Collegian

Cheryl Roberts tackles the daunting task of editing the syllabi for more than 1,200 TCC courses the same way she handles teaching a few of them — efficiently and with a smile.

Not confined to the classroom, she works behind the scenes year-round with administrators and faculty throughout the district to ensure that TCC meets the criteria necessary for accreditation.

Roberts, humanities divisional dean on Trinity River Campus, helps TCC evaluate and assess the curriculum to prepare for reviews and receive accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities.

“One of the things we have to do for accreditation from SACS is show that we assess our educational programs,” Roberts said. “Assessment is a big deal with SACS – you evaluate your curriculum and adjust it accordingly.”

She wrote the manual, called PARR, which sets the rules that faculty for courses districtwide must adhere to when rewriting their syllabi. Roberts edits the syllabus for every course before it goes into print.

PARR stands for “plan, assess, reassess and replan,” which makes the process long. The syllabi electronically go from the faculty to the divisional dean to her. After she edits them, the syllabi are posted online where faculty members vote on them and they become official.

The district has worked on rewriting the syllabi for the past two years and still has a couple more years to go, she said.

Editing the syllabi is merely a glimpse into Roberts’ busy schedule. She also helps reevaluate all of the different programs, disciplines and technical programs offered by TCC by writing the guidelines for them. She is currently evaluating all of the program focus goals and statements and trains in these areas as well.

On top of her duties for the district, she recently moved to the downtown campus to oversee the humanities division. Previously, she taught English Composition II and British and World Literature on NW Campus. Roberts’ busy schedule alludes to her diverse educational background.

Roberts immediately began teaching after she graduated in 1969 from Texas Wesleyan, where she received a bachelor’s degree in speech and drama with a minor in history. She went on to get a master’s degree in history from UTA. A teaching job for Birdville ISD eventually led her to TCU, where she received a master’s degree in English.

Sha-Shonda Porter, second-year English instructor on NW Campus, said she and other new faculty joke about wanting to grow up to be like Roberts.

“I can’t imagine someone approaching her with a question she can’t answer,” she said. “She’s a wealth of knowledge.”

Teachers with long tenure at TCC admire Roberts as much as the newcomers.

Susan McKnight, a recently retired English assistant professor on NW Campus, worked for 20 years at TCC. She said apart from being a good mentor to other teachers, Roberts always stays six months ahead.

“She’s incredibly efficient,” said Angela Chilton, NW assistant professor of English. “She somehow always has her grades turned in first.”

Roberts has also taught travel courses where she took her students to England, Greece and Italy.

Although the traveling was for English classes, she included many history lessons. She incorporates her entire academic repertoire to try and make the classes more enjoyable, she said.

“I like to think that my speech and drama background make me a little bit more lively teacher in class,” she said.

Roberts said teaching is definitely her niche. Although she has 40 years of teaching under her belt, she plans to continue working for the next 10 years.

“This is where I’m supposed to be,” she said.

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