MISSOULA – Although she stepped down as dean of the University of Montana’s Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences at the end of 2017, Roberta “Bobbie” Evans isn’t planning on slowing down. She has an ambitious agenda to dive back into teaching and research of educational leadership, fueled with new ideas.
“It’s been a privilege to champion projects initiated here that have many national implications,” Evans said, “and I feel compelled now to help my colleagues disseminate news of our findings to extend the impact of the University of Montana’s work to benefit all students in America.”
Thanks to private support, Evans will be able to dive in feet first. Evans has been named the inaugural William C. Shreeve Chair in Educational Leadership.
The Shreeve Chair honors William C. Shreeve, an exceptional educator who received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education degrees from UM. He earned his doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado before joining the faculty of Eastern Washington University in 1967 and ultimately becoming a full professor in educational leadership. He was dedicated to educating graduate students – high-quality principals and superintendents – in P-12 education, and he instituted many national award-winning programs during his tenure. Recognized for leadership in higher education that modeled the very approaches he taught, Shreeve served as chair of the EWU’s Department of Education from 1972 until he retired in 1996.
As the William C. Shreeve Chair, Evans – like Shreeve himself – will benefit from her own successful leadership experience to provide unique insight into the landscape of contemporary research about leadership and organizational theory, focusing especially upon the nexus of theory and practice where the most significant learning has been made possible for a wide array of students.
“It’s a thrilling opportunity for me to have been selected to receive this honor, and I am very excited to expand the footprint of important research in educational leadership,” Evans said. “There is absolutely nothing better than working directly with schools and universities to reach more students, more successfully.”
Evans joined the UM faculty in 1989, advancing through the faculty ranks from assistant professor to associate, then full professor. She served as department chair, program director, principal investigator and dean, a position she held from 2001 to 2003 and then again from 2006 to Dec. 31 2017. During her tenure, she oversaw a doubling of enrollment in the college, the creation of 17 new programs, all-time highs in research expenditures and unprecedented philanthropic support. Evans credits “phenomenal faculty, students and professional staff” for achievements in the college, where enrollment growth has increased in each of the past three years.
UM President Seth Bodnar expressed his appreciation for Dean Evans’ service and leadership at UM and welcomed her into her new role as the William C. Shreeve Chair in Educational Leadership.
“Bobbie’s passion and commitment to the transformational power of education is extraordinary, and I know she’ll have an immediate impact in her new role,” he said.