Monday, February 3, 2020

1989 Graduate Returns to the Classroom


Jeff Roberts was an undecided major when he came to Vol State as a student in the 1980s. He soon found an interest in history and political science. He admits that his grades were not the best in the early years of his education. However, with persistence and much hard work he became a practicing attorney. Now he’s back at Vol State and this time he will be at the front of the classroom.

“I always thought about coming back to teach,” he said. “After 20 years practicing law I finally feel competent to teach an Intro to Law class. I’m at the point in my life when I can give back.”

Roberts has his own personal injury law practice in Nashville. He said that being a community college student was good experience for his path to the courtroom.

“Going to Vol State and working at the same time really set me apart from the other students. When I got to MTSU, juggling school and work was part of who I was. At Nashville School of Law I was working 40 hours a week and going to law school at night.”

Roberts isn’t the only lawyer teaching at Vol State. Criminal Justice Director, Bradley Tracy, also a lawyer, recruited Roberts. Adjunct Bill Sorrells is not only a lawyer, but also assistant chief in the Gallatin Police Department.

“I came to Bill’s class last year as a guest speaker. I guess that’s when the bug bit me.”

Roberts is also recruiting professionals to talk to his Intro to Law students this semester, including some big names. He recently had a class Facetime appearance by former FBI agent James Freeman, who led the law enforcement task force that caught the Unabomber in the 1990s.

Graduates often remember the moment where things began to click for them in college; the revelation that learning is actually enjoyable and the valuable lessons that could be used for a career.

“Dr. Bob Ruff was the first instructor to teach me to think critically.”

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