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Robert B. Fairbanks
I have been a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington for thirty-six years. During that time I have written or edited six books, twenty-five journal and book chapters and for thirteen years was Editor for the Americas for Planning Perspectives: An International Journal of History, Planning and the Environment. I have served as an expert witness for the City of Dallas several times and a member of the team responsible for creating the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture.
During my first semester in the MA program at Indiana State University in the fall of 1972, the history department appointed me as Professor Edward K. Spann’s teaching assistant and that proved a momentous event in my academic career. It was during my tenure as his TA that he suggested I look into urban history as a field to study. I took both his urban history courses and wrote a master thesis in that field. He mentored me in numerous ways, and along with other ISU history professors improved my writing and analytical thinking skills. My experience at ISU played a critical role in my development as a historian. Because of Professor Spann’s encouragement I applied and was accepted to the Ph. D. program at the University of Cincinnati, where I received the prestigious Taft Fellowship. I was able to enter the Ph.D. program with confidence in myself thanks to the rigorous training I had experience from Professor Spann and others at ISU. I have no doubt that ISU provided an important foundation for my success as a university professor.