Dr. Robin Payne named as Director of Honors Program starting in June

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Dr. Robin K. Payne, Associate Professor of History, has been named Associate Director of the Honors Program, according to Dr. Richard C. Harvey, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Next June, Dr. Payne will become the Director of the Honors Program.

“With the rigor of her intellect and her rapport with students, Dr. Payne will be a first-rate addition to the staff of our Honors Program.  She’ll be a superb Honors Director when she takes over the Program next June.  She’ll continue to build our Program and contribute to the success of its students,” Dr. Harvey said.

Payne joined the Fairmont State faculty in 2012 after completing her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her dissertation was “Love and Liberation: Second-Wave Feminisms and the Problem of Romantic Love.”  Payne also holds the B.A. and the M.A. from Washington State University.

“Dr. Payne has a keen appreciation for academic rigor and highly values the pursuit of knowledge,” Fairmont State President Mirta M. Martin said. “As Director of the Honors Program, I know she’ll share that love and excitement of high-level learning with our students as she continues to grow the program.”

Since coming to Fairmont State, Dr. Payne has developed a number of new history courses, including Women in American History, Popular Culture in Modern America, and the History of American Sexuality.  She has been a lively member of the campus community, serving on the Faculty Senate and its Curriculum Committee, in addition to other posts.  She has been instrumental in the interdisciplinary Women and Gender Studies minor.  She has directed a number of Honors senior projects completed by history majors, and she has been a featured speaker during an Honors Lobby Talk during Women’s History Month.

Payne said, “It has been a privilege to work with so many of our Honors students during the past few years here at Fairmont State University and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside of Dr. Baker during this leadership transition. The Honors program has become a strong program under his direction and I hope to continue his tradition of helping to create a stimulating, intellectual environment in which the program and our students can thrive.”

Payne was selected by the Provost and the Honors Council with representatives from faculty from each College and School in the University along with the officers of the Honors Association, the student group that supports the Honors Program.            

Dr. J. Robert Baker, the current Director, who will step down on 1 June, said, “Robin Payne will be a great Director for our Honors Program.  She has attended the National Collegiate Honors Councils annual meeting and gotten to know some of the national players.  With her wide learning and her empathy for students, she will take our Program to new achievements.”

The Honors Program was set up in 1987 to serve Fairmont State’s most intellectually gifted students with the first Honors course offered in Spring 1988.  Since then, the Program has grown to about 250 students across the academic disciplines.  The Program seeks to help the University’s best students develop their ability to think critically; learn to balance their academic, social, and inner lives; and to expose them to the visual and performing arts.  Fairmont State’s Program is part of the National Collegiate Honors Council.  

Dr. Payne will be the fifth Director of Fairmont State’s Honors Program.  Dr. Robert M. Grattan was the founding director.  He was followed by Dr. Anthony (Tony) Brizendine, Dr. M. Angela Schwer, and Dr. J. Robert Baker.