Dr. Bob Teaching Excellence

photo of bob zimmermann

On September 24, 2018, the Delta College Foundation Board of Trustees officially recognized the Dr. Robert R. “Dr. Bob” Zimmermann Endowed Teaching Chair Award that Ted and I established. The criteria for the award are:

  • • The Dr. Robert R. “Dr. Bob” Zimmermann Endowed Teaching Chair Award is restricted for projects focused on faculty professional development activities.
  • • Proposals should set forth the primary values exemplified by Dr. Bob during his tenure at Delta College, including his belief all students should be treated equitably, with an equal opportunity to learn. He was a member of the American Psychological Association for more than 50 years. He spent time publishing articles, book chapters, and reviews, while also directing doctoral dissertations and master’s theses.
  • • Faculty members are encouraged to submit project ideas that would typically be above and beyond the types of activities supported through existing Professional Development Allowances (PDAs).

Ted and I attended the meeting via video conference. Below is the speech I had intended to give, but my tears got the better of me, so Ted presented it.

My dad published 70 journal articles and book chapters, including a seminal lead article in Science with his major professor and mentor Harry Harlow on attachment theory and the mother love experiments. Yet he always was first and foremost a teacher. He loved teaching. And he loved teaching at Delta College.

Of all the places my dad taught, he felt the most kinship with the students and faculty at Delta College. My dad was the first person in his family to graduate from high school, then college, then a master’s program, and finally he completed his doctorate in psychology at the University of Wisconsin. Although his parents helped him financially during his undergraduate years, they were not wealthy people. So my dad worked every summer as a carpenter to pay his share of the cost. He understood the value of a college education and the sacrifices students and their families make to achieve their academic dreams.

My dad wasn’t always a great student. He had to complete a year of prep school before getting admitted to Lawrence College. And it was at Lawrence that he met a professor who changed his life, who lit a spark in my dad’s intellectual consciousness. You probably had a teacher—or maybe 2 or 3 or 4—who challenged you to do your best and go beyond what you thought you could achieve.

Ted and I had that inspirational experience with a few of our teachers. And that’s why we committed to this teaching excellence endowment fund in my dad’s honor.

Thank you to Delta College for providing a place where my dad had his most meaningful experiences as a teacher. And thank you to the Delta College Foundation for supporting our efforts to honor my dad with this teaching endowment. Ted and I look forward to all the wonderful and innovative projects Delta College instructors will pursue as a result of the support from my dad’s endowment.