The DFA offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Robert S. Rodger who passed away on Friday, January 8, 2021 at the age of 94. We have lost a good friend, colleague, founding figure and past president of the Dalhousie Faculty Association.
In 1978, Bob spear-headed the certification of the DFA as the bargaining agent for professors, instructors, librarians and counselors at Dalhousie. His extraordinary efforts resulted in the successful certification drive and his exceptional vision helped conclude a model collective agreement that has protected the rights of academic staff for over 40 years. The first year after certification (1978-79), Bob served as the DFA President, leading the organization through what would have been a challenging period of transition. In recognition of his contribution to the DFA, we introduced the Dr. Robert S. Rodger Lecture Series in 2018 during our 40th anniversary to mark outstanding achievements in the promotion of collective bargaining and academic rights.
Bob was born in 1926 in Scotland. As a teenager, he enlisted in the military during WWII and joined the Black Watch (The Royal Highland Regiment), serving in Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, Africa, and Germany. After the war, he spent several years as an elementary and high school teacher in Scotland. These years helped Bob discover his passion for education, and he began his university studies, earning his Masters degree from the University of Edinburgh and his Ph.D. at Queens University of Belfast.
He first came to Dalhousie University in January 1969 as a Killam Senior Fellow. Early in his academic career, Bob was the 1966 recipient of the John Smyth Memorial Medal from Melbourne University, recognizing his contribution to education. His contribution to academia continued for almost five decades. As a few examples of his many achievements, Bob founded in the early years the now-defunct Dalhousie University Computer Users Group and Chaired the Department of Psychology during the 1980s.
The DFA continued to benefit from Bob’s mind and exceptional memory. As recently as fall 2020, during a grievance preparation, we relied on his recollection of the intent behind a few clauses in the original collective agreement of 1978. Bob will be missed.