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Eric Robertson, ‘06

Professor of Communication Studies, MiraCosta College

Eric Robertson, ‘06
Eric Robertson is currently a professor of Communication Studies at MiraCosta College. Prior to this experience, he was the partner to a real estate company that bought foreclosure properties, while simultaneously teaching classes at San Diego State University and directing the speech and debate program.

His research involves looking for new and innovative models of education. Startup Style Learning was his first Bestselling book on Amazon, and it explores how the process of starting a business creates a unique type of learning. He is also the author of a college debate textbook, "Strategic Argumentation in Parliamentary Debate."

What made you choose to attend SDSU?

After receiving my Undergraduate Degree in Speech Communication at Cal Poly SLO, I moved to San Diego and worked for a bank. My roommates were SDSU students, and I learned about the school from them. I liked my work at the bank, and I knew I could be successful, but I didn’t want to be done with my education. I wasn’t sure exactly what a Master’s degree would do for me, but it seemed like a step in the right direction, and something that would open up doors for me.

What is your favorite college memory?

I focused on Ethnography and Communication, and I did field work in Ireland over a summer. Dr. Patricia Geist-Martin helped me make the connections I needed to do work on ethnography in Ireland, and that experience had a deep reaching impact for me and for my family, more than just research. I traced my family’s roots which reunited my family. I had never expected that my family it would be part of my research.

Who was your favorite professor and/or what was your favorite class?

I didn’t have a single bad class. It was a challenge to choose my classes; they all sounded so interesting. Even still, there are more experiences I wish I could have done. I would have loved to participate in Bill Snavely’s Communication and Leadership Seminars. Because of my specialization in Ethnography, I took three classes with Dr. Geist-Martin. Her voice still echoes in my head. They are all my favorites. Dr. Peter Andersen, Dr. Sharon Taylor. She has always been an inspiration for me, and an amazing human being.

If you were to give current SDSU students some advice, what would you say?

Make sure that you are the one who defines what success means to you. Make sure you aren’t just trying to figure out things based on what someone else said is good or right or beneficial. Paths don’t always pan out how you expect. Whatever path you choose, meet people in that field to make the assessment of whether you would enjoy that life. Keep asking yourself, what does success look like for me? Is this the direction I want to go? Look for data to support what you say you want to do.

What are you currently reading? What’s your favorite book?

Right now I am reading Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger, but my favorite book is Getting Things Done by David Allen. I follow everything in that book. To operate and organize on a high level and have a clear head when you go home, read it. It talks about productivity at a level that nothing else touches. It should be required reading.

What is your passion?

I have a passion for building things. I value the mentality of nurturing ideas and having the freedom to implement those ideas in my career. I was hired as a lecturer at SDSU and was the coach for the Speech and Debate team, and I grew the program from 10 to 100 participants. For me, it was not only the success of the program, but the crafting of it and letting it grow that made me excited. I don’t think there are many things better than taking ideas and turning them into something real and tangible.

What is your motto?

There is a quote I like by Virginia Wolfe: “Arrange whatever pieces come your way.” Be aware of what is around you and put things together. Everyone has certain opportunities that present themselves, so you need to recognize them. You can build a life by seeking things, but a lot depends on what you do with what comes up on your plate.

Tell us the highlights of your professional career. What are your proudest achievements?

Getting my current job at MiraCosta College and getting tenure. I genuinely enjoy my work. I would be content if I stay here for the next thirty years. I have received awards at other jobs, including being selected as “Most Influential Professor” at PSFA’s Commencement Ceremony, but my work now is what I am proud of. It comes back to having that place of balance to be able to have time with my family, not be stressed, and being happy with my work.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with your winnings?

I would probably pay off my house, put money away for my kids, and maybe get my wife a new car. I would definitely keep teaching. I am passionate about my work, and wouldn’t want to stop just to sit around.

Any other thoughts?

You rarely hear people say they regret their education. I went into SDSU trying to find the path of most resistance. The professors and classes that were most challenging were often the most appealing. Overall, I had a great experience at SDSU, and today there are so many positive things that I am able to do that have a foundation in my graduate work. I can’t thank the faculty enough for all of the opportunities that have come my way.