2016 Faculty Excellence Awards

John J. Roberts
Assistant Professor of Trombone

JohnJohn Roberts is described as an “exemplary educator” who takes a careful and deliberate approach to teaching excellence, who through his initiatives has had a demonstrable impact on students’ artistic development and education beyond the classroom.


“John’s talent, energy and enthusiasm are boundless and these traits are always bringing out the very best in his students and colleagues,” a colleague said.


Most impressive, the colleague said, is John’s unusually strong combination of artistry and business acumen. “I have known many people with great strengths in one area or another, but I can think of few, if any, who have such strength in both areas at the same time.”


Another colleague said John’s students appreciate his abilities as a musician and his strength as a teacher, as well as his sincere concern and investment in their development.


John’s combined passion for teaching and dedication to providing students with opportunities outside his classroom is evident with the annual MSUB Jazz Festival he re-instituted in 2015, reviving a once very popular festival that had been held annually at MSUB for decades but dissolved in the late ‘90s. In the festival’s first year, about 400 people attended the one-day event and in its second year, that number jumped to 600. Each year, the festival featured one of the world’s top jazz performers, both of which invited MSUB students to accompany their finale concert held for the Billings community.


“John is a born leader and his vision and artistry inspires everyone,” a colleague said. “His deep and positive impact on our department, university and community cannot be overstated.”


John said the most rewarding part of his job is collaborating with his students and colleagues to build a positive culture, one that best prepares students for success.