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Last modified: Monday, March 24, 2008

Jean Robinson

W. George Pinnell Awards for Outstanding Service

Professor of Political Science and Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Department of Political Science
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
College of Arts and Sciences
University Graduate School
Indiana University Bloomington
Appointed to IU faculty, 1980
B.A., Oberlin College, 1973
M.A., Cornell University, 1976
Ph.D., Cornell University, 1980

"IU would not be on the map of international feminist theory and pedagogy if it were not for the efforts Jean has made not only in political science but also in virtually every discipline in the College."

--Susan Gubar, Distinguished Professor of English, Indiana University Bloomington

Jean Robinson's service to Indiana University began before she joined IU's faculty -- while, in fact, she was a student at another university. While writing her dissertation for Cornell University, Robinson lived in Bloomington, where she led the IU Women's Studies Program and served as its coordinator. After completing her Ph.D., she joined IU's faculty and became the university's first director of women's studies.

In the 28 years since, Robinson has distinguished herself both within and outside the university. "Her teaching, research, and service are deeply intertwined in ways that make the university a better place for faculty and staff to work and for students to learn," says Ellen Dwyer, professor of criminal justice and history.

One way Robinson has made IU a better place is by promoting gender equality and the advancement of women -- as people, as faculty members, and as a subject worthy of academic study. "Throughout her early years on the IU faculty, Jean devoted herself both to the development of a community of feminist scholars and to the establishment of the interdisciplinary field of women's studies, and she helped in countless ways to further the study of gender inequality, both at IU and elsewhere," says Pamela Barnhouse Walters, James H. Rudy Professor of Sociology.

Robinson developed the graduate and much of the undergraduate curriculum for the Women's Studies Program (now the Department of Gender Studies), enlisted faculty to teach it, and recruited students to enroll in it. As dean for women's affairs from 1998 to 2003, Robinson acquired multiple grants to enhance and extend IU's Women in Science initiative and reduce violence against women on campus. She also initiated the first campuswide Study on the Status of Women, which examined the experiences and analyzed the status of women staff, faculty, and students.

An accomplished scholar of international politics and the politics of equality, Robinson is director of graduate studies in the IU Bloomington Department of Political Science. She previously served as the department's director of undergraduate studies and as director of the Leadership, Ethics, and Social Action program. In the 1990s, she helped develop the high school Advanced Placement (AP) exam in U.S. government and politics, and from 2003 to 2005 helped revise the AP exam in comparative government and politics, for which she is currently the chief faculty reader. Robinson has been a visiting professor at institutions all over the world and is a founding member of the international research group RNGS: Research Network on Gender Politics and the State.

"Jean could serve as a model of what it means to put interdisciplinarity into practice," Walters says. In addition to her position in the Department of Political Science, Robinson has served or currently serves on the faculty in the Department of Gender Studies, the Russian and East European Institute, West European Studies, and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. She has been associated with honors education at IU Bloomington for many years, and in September 2007 she was named interim dean of the Hutton Honors College.

Throughout her career, Robinson has generously volunteered her time to the university and the community. She is currently a member of the Political Science Personnel Committee, the Sonneborn Committee, the Wells Scholars Advisory Board, and the Gender Studies' Graduate Admission and Studies Committee, and she just completed serving as a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Tenure Committee. She is also on the board of directors for the Middle Way House, a community organization dedicated to ending violence toward women and children. For her service and teaching, Robinson has earned a variety of awards, including the IU Dean of the Faculties Distinguished Service Award and the IU President's Award for Distinguished Teaching.

"She has performed extraordinary and effective service," says Jeffrey C. Isaac, chair and James H. Rudy Professor of Political Science. "And she has done so with exceptional skill and even more exceptional grace."

Robyn Wiegman, professor of women's studies and literature at Duke University, studied under and taught with Robinson in the Women's Studies Program. Wiegman, like many in and outside IU, is grateful to Robinson "for years of work on my behalf, for her rigorousness as a teacher, for her generosity as a mentor, for her acceptance of me as a peer, and for her ongoing defense of the university as a place for practicing one's social ideals."