Idaho Mormon named state's professor of the year

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 6 2011 5:00 a.m. MST

CALDWELL, Idaho — A professor at the College of Idaho who teaches political economy and specializes in Asian studies was recently honored as the 2011 Idaho Professor of the year.

Robert Dayley was selected from a pool of 300 top professors nationwide by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) to receive the prestigious recognition. He traveled to Washington, D.C., before Thanksgiving to accept the award.

Dayley is the fourth College of Idaho professor in six years to receive the award. He was selected based on scholarly achievement, innovative teaching, community and professional service, as well as recommendations from colleagues, alumni and students.

“I was surprised,” said Dayley, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “I never imagined I would get an award like this. I see myself a very typical teacher at the College of Idaho, so I think the award really speaks to the quality of instruction we have here.”

In addition to being highly regarded as a teacher, Dayley played a major role in developing the College of Idaho’s “PEAK” curriculum, which enables students to graduate with a major and three minors in four years.

Dayley gained a love of learning from his parents. His mother was a grade school teacher for 30 years and his dad, Alan, is the assistant dean for the Weber State University-Davis campus.

“I grew up around education,” Dayley said. “I liked the lifestyle. I liked being a student.”

Dayley discovered a love for the Asian culture when he served a Mormon mission to Bangkok, Thailand. Following his missionary service, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Weber State, a master’s degree from the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. from Northern Illinois. He has taught at the College of Idaho for 11 years.

Dayley is an active member of the Caldwell Third Ward and serves on the high council of the Caldwell Idaho East Stake.

More than 1,000 students attend the College of Idaho. The C of I was founded in 1891 and is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college.

“I enjoy the relationship I get to have with my students,” Dayley said. “My job is to read books and talk about them with young people. I get to take my students with me to Asia and show them globalization in action. Helping students discover new interests is exciting and satisfying. … I can’t believe I get paid to do this.”

Email: ttoone@desnews.com

Twitter: tbtoone

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