Bob would never discuss education apart from the practice, the reality of a particular person, this class, this text. He refused to discuss education abstractly. So the conversation was constant about students and he was very insistent on the primacy of knowing your students. That is finding out what they believed and whether they really believed it or not. And so we were always talking about students in that way and what they thought of a text or a thesis in a text or something like that. Always positioning points of view. Always when we talked about readings for a course, we talked about whether the author was intellectually stimulating; whether he had a thesis and could carry it through different chapters; whether he wrote in such a way as to engage students — to touch their experience and whether that was an avenue to the question of what they believed and whether they truly believed it or not. So that conversation was just constant, just constant. Individual students. You know, “What does Mr. — really think?” And we would talk about you. We’d talk about a student for fifteen or twenty minutes.

Craig Brown,
Former Political Science Professor