Professor’s heartfelt dedication Remembered

English professor Robin Brooke Eubanks poses for her husband Keith Eubanks.

By Denis Perez, Creative Director

Fighting cancer for many of her years, life was not always easy.

Yet English professor Robin Brooke Eubanks could provide happiness to those around her and create a joyful environment in her educational spaces.

On Aug. 12, Eubanks died of cancer. She was 49.

Liberal Arts Division Dean Jason Burner said the loss of Eubanks at Contra Costa College will be directly be felt in the College Skills Center and in the English department — especially its push for providing more online classes.

Eubanks was a full-time professor and had taught at CCC for three years at the time of her death.

“Brooke was a very well-liked and respected professor and was a very popular tutor at the (skills center),” Burner said. “She (Eubanks) did a lot of online work. It was one of the reasons she was hired — to help create and offer online classes in the English department.”

In 2016 when the Contra Costa Community College District was re-thinking its online presence and switching its online class platform from Desire2Learn to Canvas, Eubanks was a key player in making sure online English classes were offered by CCC.

According to a 2016 article published by The Advocate, Eubanks was the first professor in the district to teach three courses on Canvas in a semester and the first professor on campus to teach an English course fully online.

In the same article, former CCC president Mojdeh Mehdizadeh said, “It (teaching online) requires that faculty have an understanding to teach in an online environment and (Eubanks) has been one of those champions working to get other faculty in her department used to online teaching.”

United Faculty President Jeffrey Michels, who is a CCC English department professor, said Eubanks always sought to connect with her students and help them develop their educational careers. She did this whether it was in a face-to-face class setting or in an online class.

Dr. Michels said she participated in workshops and trainings and was very proud of her students. He said with her cancer progressing, Eubanks attended a program at the Stanford Cancer Center in Palo Alto.

Michels said, “Her last semester here I told her, ‘Maybe you can take a break,’ and her response was, ‘I can’t. This is who I am.’”

In an email to faculty about Eubanks, Berner said, “She was also a fixture in the college’s (skills center), where she could always be found helping students, any who sought her out especially for her expertise and approachability. Although her time with us was brief, she definitely made a powerful impact on the CCC community.”

CCC alumna Sasha Graham said, Eubanks helped change her life by just being a caring teacher. “She (Eubanks Brooks) re-assured me that I could believe in myself.”

Eubanks was Graham’s English teacher in spring 2016 and she was one of those students who, after having the professor for English 1A, enrolled in her class again for English 1C.

Graham said Brooks made class simple and was blunt with students.

“She would break things down and kept a lively environment in her class,” Graham said. “She would read your homework assignment thoroughly enough to give you effective feedback and she was often open (about her health situation) and the whole class knew about her family. She made time for you to be able to talk about problems in classwork and in person too.”

Eubanks’ interaction with Graham, like with other students, included time outside of the classroom.

Graham said Eubanks helped her secure multiple scholarships and proofread and offered suggestions on almost all of her scholarship essays.

Graham said, “Notably, in the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship process she was crucial in helping me to finish it.”

She said when her professor who had agreed to write a recommendation letter failed to come through, at the last minute Eubanks was instantly available after Graham notified her of the situation.

On a tight deadline, Eubanks finished the letter of recommendation and Graham went on to be a 2016 recipient of the $320,000 Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship.

Graham said she has a deep gratitude and appreciation for Eubanks, who she said was an amazing person and a great professor because her energy was authentic.

She said Eubanks was, at her core, down to earth.

Eubanks is survived by her husband Keith Eubanks, and their three daughters Madeline (17), Abigail (12) and Katie (10).

Michels said the United Faculty is starting a scholarship fund for Eubanks’ daughters. For more information about the scholarship fund, contact Michels at [email protected].