Professor Robert Dayley

College of Idaho's Robert Dayley Named Idaho Professor of the Year

November 17, 2011 - College of Idaho professor Robert Dayley is the winner of the 2011 Idaho Professor of the Year award, announced Nov. 17 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Dayley, who teaches political economy and specializes in Asian studies, is the fourth C of I professor in six years to receive the award, which recognizes the state’s top educator based on scholarly achievement, innovative teaching, community and professional service, and recommendations from colleagues, alumni and students.

“It’s very humbling,” Dayley said. “It’s a real honor. I consider myself a very typical teacher at The College of Idaho, so I think the award really speaks to the quality of instruction we have here.”

Dayley is in his 11th year at C of I and is one of the primary architects of the College’s innovative PEAK curriculum, launched in 2010. He teaches international political economy classes and topics courses about a variety of Asian nations. He also advises the College’s award-winning Model United Nations team as well as international students in the Davis United World College Scholars program. Dayley’s primary area of expertise is Southeast Asia – he co-authors a highly praised college text on the region. Twice a recipient of Fulbright grants to Thailand, Dayley took four C of I students to study the Thai tangerine industry this past summer thanks to an ASIANetwork Freeman Student-Faculty Research Grant. A video documenting the group’s findings can be viewed on the C of I YouTube channel.

“I enjoy the relationship I get to have with my students,” Dayley said. “My job is to read books and talk about them with young people. I get to take my students with me to Asia and show them globalization in action. Helping students discover new interests is exciting and satisfying…I can’t believe I get paid to do this.”

College of Idaho alumna Molly Bruins ’04 said her classes with Dayley left her with both a desire to change the world and an honest sense of how difficult that task might be.

“Rob is a phenomenal teacher,” Bruins said. “He cares passionately about his subject matter and has a very genuine empathy for individuals around the world who are affected by the actions of international policymakers. I always had the sense that he was a student alongside us, exploring and analyzing problems that in many cases are very intractable, rather than a dogmatic 'expert' who already had all the answers.”

In addition to being highly regarded as a teacher, Dayley helped shape the C of I’s PEAK curriculum, which enables students to graduate with a major and three minors in four years. Those majors and minors span the four knowledge “peaks” of the humanities and fine arts, social sciences and history, natural sciences and mathematics, and professional studies and enhancements.