The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Beck wins Distinguished Faculty Award

Ask Roger Beck where he hasn’t traveled, and then give him a minute to think.

It will take the 60-year-old history professor a minute to come up with an answer because there are few places he hasn’t been.

Beck has lived in France, Japan, England, South Africa, Germany and Israel and traveled to many other countries. But twenty years ago, he chose to make his home in Charleston and take a job as a professor.

Since then, his activity at Eastern has earned him a reputation worthy of this year’s Distinguished Faculty Award.

“I couldn’t believe it, I was really shocked,” about winning the award, Beck said. “I was really speechless for about five minutes.”

Anita Shelton, the chair of the history department, pulled him out of a class to tell him he had won the award and to congratulate him with a hug.

She has been working with Beck at Eastern for the past 18 years and nominated him for the award because she thought it was time to recognize him for his achievements as a faculty member.

Beck has written numerous books on world history, including the widest-used world history books on both the high school and collegiate level.

“I thought ‘well that’s really quite extraordinary and that ought to be recognized in some way,'” Shelton said. “In so many ways, he has contributed to lives of students on this campus, beyond this campus around the world through his textbook.”

Those books are just two of the many residing on the bookshelves in his office. He’s currently working on two other major book projects and expects more will come as he continues his work.

But writing and teaching aren’t the only activities Beck is known for at Eastern.

He’s been involved with Faculty Senate, the African American Studies Committee, the Intercollegiate Board, Teachers Education Committee and, most recently, the Presidential Search Advisory Committee.

Beck represented the senate on the committee and said he learned a lot about the university during the process.

“It was amazing how much you learn about the university that you really didn’t know,” he said.

Faculty Senate Chair Assege Hailemariam served on the search committee with Beck and said he was cooperative and insightful during the search.

“He represented the faculty very well,” Hailemariam said. “He took his responsibilities very seriously.”

He is also known on campus for his involvement with study abroad programs and founding the popular program to Harlaxton College in England.

Beck took his first trip abroad to Ireland in 1968 and now encourages his own students to take such trips.

“I’ve realized ever since then that if we can get students to spend time abroad then they’ll be hooked,” Beck said.

Outside of Eastern, Beck was a founding member of the World History Association and served as its treasurer for six years when the association had 1,300 members from 35 different countries.

Outside of academics, Beck is a basketball fan and played the sport with a scholarship at Evansville University. He also spent a little time doing amateur opera in Europe and was also acquaintances with Ark Buchwald while in Paris.

“You just never know what kind of opportunities you’re going to have,” Beck said.

Locally, he’s known as the husband and brother-in-law of the owners of Flesor’s Candy Kitchen in Tuscola.

“I think the thing that most people know about him outside of his scholarship and teaching is his wife and sister own and operate Flesor’s Candy Kitchen,” Shelton said. “He promotes it everywhere he goes.”

Beck said he spends his time, “teaching, writing and making caramel apples every once in awhile.”

Ann Brownson, chair of the Distinguished Faculty Award search committee said Beck was one of four faculty members nominated for this year’s award.

“While I don’t know Dr. Beck well personally, I do know him by

reputation,” Brownson said. “He is a highly respected member of the faculty, known as a

first-rate scholar, excellent teacher, and highly involved member of

both his profession and the EIU community.”

Beck will be recognized during Spring Commencement for his award, and will also receive a plaque and monetary award. A plaque will also be placed in Booth Library in his honor.

Beck wins Distinguished Faculty Award

Beck wins Distinguished Faculty Award

History professor Roger Beck. (File photo/The Daily Eastern News)


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