Dr. Helenan (Lewis) Robin
Time at Western Michigan University: 1963-95
Dr. Robin originally taught in the Department of Sociology later transferring to the Department of Political Science in 1968. She specialized in Middle Eastern politics and ancient political theory. She taught a variety of subjects including public opinion, urban politics, research methods, statistics and comparative urban development. She participated in the development of the Ph.D. program for the department and later directed the program from 1992-94. Along with Jack Plano and Robert Riggs, she was the co-author of Dictionary of Political Analysis. She has contributed many articles in political science, sociology, and education to journals.
She played an active role in the Faculty Senate from 1970-95 often reporting to and representing the department. The members of the Senate elected her to be their treasurer and the corresponding secretary during her WMU tenure. She sat on the Budget and Finance Council and later chaired the council. She was a strong advocate for equal pay on campus. As a members of the Salary Equity Committee, Dr. Robin and Dr. Stanley Robin, WMU Department of Sociology, presented their studies to American Association of University Professors, WMU’s Affirmative Action officer, and Title IX coordinator that female faculty members received less in earnings in all professional ranks. “Should women have to bargain under Affirmative Action at point of hiring or should they be offered an equitable salary?” (Western Herald, 1978). She was a member of the Graduate Policy Council and the Research Policies Council as well. The Senate elected her to be the delegate to the Association of Michigan Collegiate Faculties.
In 1988, she spoke about women's role in politics and how there have been more opportunities for women to run for office, and yet recognized it would take time for women to be elected to higher political office positions. She studied women’s voting patterns comparing those to male patterns. She conducted a number of surveys asking men and women about women holding various political office positions ranging from presidency to city council members. The results showed both genders supported women in lower level elected positions, but more women than men supported a woman as president.
In the Kalamazoo community, Dr. Robin served on the board of the Guidance Clinic for 16 years. She was also the citizen representative of Kalamazoo on the Southwest Michigan Planning Council of Region III from 1980-88. She avidly supported Michigan House Representative, Mary Brown, who was in office for 18 years.
After her retirement in 1995, she continued to be a common face around campus. Her love for travel and teaching has brought her back in front of students, this time without tests or papers to grade. She teaches for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU. She has developed classes on ancient people and is currently developing a class about Ancient Rome and the Roman empire. She also participates in many emeriti events and lectures.
President Haenicke established the Stanley S and Helenan S Robin Scholarship at the time of their retirement to honor their contributions to the university. This annual award is given to a senior majoring in political science based on academic scholarship, disciplinary and professional accomplishment, assessed potential and commitment to the field of political science.