Assistant to president decides to teach again

Jennifer Nacin

What makes a man who has been involved with ISU administration for more than a decade want to switch paths in his life and continue his career as a full-time professor? Students.

For the past 11 years, Charles Dobbs has been assistant to the president, but with the help of ISU President Gregory Geoffroy, he discerned the classroom was where he feels most fulfilled.

“Teaching is really exciting,” Dobbs said. “I don’t know how else to say it. It’s just really fun.”

Dobbs said there is nothing more exciting for him than getting into a detailed debate with his students and seeing expressions of understanding — when he looks around the room and sees “the lights go on.”

“I just think it’s neat to get people who come in who don’t have a background in the field and then get them excited about studying history,” he said.

Dobbs said some of his students invited their friends and significant others to sit in on a class because they enjoyed his lectures to that great of a degree.

Last week, Dobbs returned to his role as full-time professor.

He began his teaching career in 1977 as an assistant professor of history at Metropolitan State College of Denver. He later started his assistant position in the ISU President’s Office in 1994, after years of teaching history.

Dobbs said he has spent the past year and a half working 75 percent of his time as the president’s assistant and the other 25 percent teaching a military history course.

“[Geoffroy] was kind enough to help me test the waters during this past year and a half,” Dobbs said. “He wanted me to be where it was best for me, which was really kind of him.”

John Anderson, assistant to the president, said he accepted the position left by Dobbs and will start Monday. He said he has worked closely with the ISU President’s Office for the past 25 years.

His work for the university consisted of writing speeches, presentations, opinion editorials, letters and papers, which will be similar to the assistant to the president position, he said.

“In many ways, it was a natural fit in combining the work in these two positions,” Anderson said.

He said he has no doubt Dobbs will enjoy his time as a full-time professor.

“He’s just infectious in his enthusiasm, loves his subjects, loves teaching,” Anderson said.