Robin F. Bachin is the Charlton W. Tebeau Associate Professor of History, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, and Founding Director of the Office of Civic and Community Engagement (CCE) at the University of Miami (UM). She received her B.A. from Brandeis University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude, with Highest Honors in History and the History of Ideas. She receivedher M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan. Her areas of research and teaching include American urban, environmental, and cultural history. Bachin has published numerous articles and book chapters, and delivered scholarly and public presentations, on topics including universities and civic engagement, community development and urban planning, and the intersections of urban and environmental history. Her first book, Building the South Side: Urban Space and Civic Culture in Chicago, 1890-1919 (University of Chicago Press in 2004) won the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Illinois History and Heritage. Other books include “Big Bosses:” A Working Girl’s Memoir of Jazz Age America (University of Chicago Press, 2016) and a co-edited volume, Engaging Place, Engaging Practices: Urban History and Campus-Community Collaboration, forthcoming from Temple University Press. Her current book project is “Sun, Sand and Surf”: The Transformation of the South Florida Environment and the Struggle to Save It.
Bachin also is a nationally renowned leader in promoting civic engagement in higher education and has won numerous awards for this work. These include the 2020 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award from Campus Compact for exemplary leadership in advancing student civic learning and enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good; the 2019 Impact Award for Excellence in Community Development from the South Florida Community Development Coalition; the 2016 Spirit of Service-Learning Award from the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of America; the 2015 Phi Beta Kappa Key of Excellence Award for exemplary cross-campus commitment to advancing the civic purposes of higher education; and the 2013 Community Engagement Educator Award from Florida Campus Compact. She led the effort for UM to receive the 2016 Award for Most Engaged Institution of Higher Education from Florida Campus Compact and the 2015 Carnegie Classification in Community Engagement. She has received fellowships from the Graham Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Teagle Foundation, and the Driehaus Foundation to support her scholarship. Bachin also has secured over $2.5 million in funding to support CCE’s university-community projects promoting affordable housing, urban resilience, and equity in community development in South Florida.
Bachin is Project Director for the Miami Housing Solutions Lab (MHSL), a suite of free, interactive online tools that uses big data and innovative mapping technology to visualize the landscape of affordable housing and climate change impacts like sea level rise and extreme heat in Miami. The MHSL provides community groups, planners, policymakers, advocacy organizations, and affordable housing and resiliency experts with information on local housing needs as well as housing policies that prevent displacement, promote equitable community development, and address climate impacts. Bachin also is a member of the Aspen Institute Working Group on Inclusive Innovation in America’s Cities and Past President of the Society for American City and Regional Planning History. She has served on the Boards of Directors of Imagining America, the Urban History Association, the Good Government Initiative, the Workforce Housing Committee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and the Urban Environment League of Greater Miami. She has been interviewed by various media outlets, including the New York Times, PBS, BBC America, The Today Show, National Public Radio, and NBC television. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Miami, she was the Assistant Director of the Scholl Center for American History and Culture at the Newberry Library in Chicago, where she served as Project Coordinator for the National Park Service’s Labor History Landmark Project and founder of the Urban History Dissertation Group.