Robin Kratzer is an educator who practices what she advocates. During the 2011-2012 academic year, she helped Lourdes students and area educators achieve their professional best while serving as the Director of School and Educational Partnerships.

Towards the end of the 2012 spring semester, Robin and her husband Kurt made the difficult decision of moving out of state when he was offered a new position. "We will definitely miss her dedication and expertise," offers Michael Smith, PhD, Dean of the College of Education & Human Services. "Her hard work has laid the groundwork for continued expansion in our department and for our students."

Creating educational partnerships

Robin Kratzner

Throughout the year, Robin brought her wealth of experience to the department as it began offering new educational outreach programs. Additionally, she coordinated and provided professional development for area educators. The end goal was to assist these educators and promote student achievement in the PreK-12 classroom.

Another initiative Robin undertook was forming professional development partnerships. "The initiative grew out of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Blue Ribbon Panel for Improved Student Learning," notes Robin. "These partnerships promote shared responsibility in teacher preparation for challenges in the 21st century classrooms and increased student achievement."

Building a strong service learning program

In her role as Director of Service Learning for the department's undergraduate program, Robin developed, directed and coordinated service learning opportunities for teacher candidates and worked with students to find service learning opportunities that blended academic coursework with community service.

A positive of the program is that "students have the flexibility to propose their own opportunity. In fact, one student is fulfilling service learning hours by travelling to Haiti this spring to teach English as a second language."

Offering more study abroad opportunities

One of the enhancements Robin and the department have been pursuing is the establishment of a study-abroad program. She and Michael French, PhD, Associate Chair for Graduate & Professional Studies, have extensive experience working with communities and educators in Belize, Brazil, Jamaica and Thailand.

Of the outreach efforts she has coordinated, Robin says, "Students who participate are able to witness firsthand the immediate affect their work has on the entire community. These types of study abroad opportunities are truly amazing and worthwhile projects."