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Beck Awarded 2016 Faculty Achievement Award

Dr. Diana Beck at Knox College Commencement 2016.

Citation read by Tim Kasser, Professor and Chair of the Psychology department

It is my real pleasure to announce this year's winner of the Knox College Faculty Achievement Award. The faculty personnel committee chooses the winner of this award with nominations made from all across campus. The Faculty Achievement Award recognizes extraordinary accomplishments in teaching, research, and creative activity and service. This year's winner is being recognized for excellence in all of these areas.

The faculty member who has won this year's award is an exceptional instructor who is valued by students and colleagues alike. She regularly receives course evaluations from students that place her at the very top of her department. Students react so positively to her classes because she is a remarkably thoughtful teacher who always places the student at the center of the learning. She does this by continually working to tap into the many ways that Knox students learn and express their knowledge.

I can personally attest to how much I have learned about teaching from her, and I know that other faculty members often look to her for guidance, assistance, and inspiration. Perhaps this is why she is held in high regard by her peers, who over the years have elected her to be faculty observer to the Board of Trustees and to serve on the executive committee and the faculty personnel committee, two of the most important faculty committees on campus.

When this year's winner came to the college, her department was almost in complete disarray. She almost immediately took over as chair and has served in that capacity for most of her career at Knox. During her time at Knox, students have flocked to her department, making it among the most popular majors on campus. These accomplishments are particularly noteworthy since she continually has to negotiate with government bureaucracies and regulations, unimaginable to most of us professors. Her success in managing these challenges is clear, as those bureaucracies consistently re-accredit her department at the highest level, recognizing it as one of the strongest in the state of Illinois.

This year's winner has done all that while continuing to research into how children learn, particularly how they learn science. Over the last decade she has applied her student-centered approach by researching culturally relevant pedagogy on the Navajo Nation Reservation. Each August, she has taken groups of students to teach with her on the reservation in Arizona. When the students who have accompanied her on these trips graduate, they frequently indicate that this was the defining experience of their college career. To say that she has changed lives with this program would be a major understatement.

So I ask you to join me in congratulating this year's winner of the Knox College Faculty Achievement Award, my very good friend, the George Appleton Lawrence Distinguished Service Professor of Educational Studies, Dr. Diana Beck.

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Printed on Sunday, June 16, 2024