CSU adjunct professor Carl Beekman has a simple philosophy when it comes to teaching: “I believe in humor. I want learning to be fun.”
This approach is one reason he was recently awarded the Robert G. Mayes Sr. Distinguished Faculty of the Year Award at the Oct. 21 graduation ceremonies in Orange Beach, Ala.
However, there are many other reasons Beekman was given the award. Some comments from students include:
“Dr. Beekman is the reason I am now seeking my master’s degree. He inspired me to move forward when I felt like throwing up my hands and giving up. His faith in my ability to climb to a new dimension is the reason I must nominate him as the most distinguished faculty award. He inspires others to trust in themselves, and follow their heart.”
“I am in my senior year at CSU. I have been instructed by many professors, none quite as engaging as Dr. Beekman. His feedback on my unit assessments challenged me in ways no other professor had tested me. His participation in our blackboard discussions were unlike any other professor I have engaged with. He has made a difference in my outlook on life.”
Although he could not attend the graduation and presentation, Beekman sent the following poem as part of his acceptance speech for the prestigious honor:
“I dedicate the following poem to my students and my CSU family.
Thank you so much for selecting me;
You didn’t have to do it.
I’m glad people like you
Could help me to earn this award.
I’ll always think of you all
With a warm and appreciative heart;
You are very special to me and always will be.”
Beekman has a doctorate in multi-cultural education from Union Institute and holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s in health education from Indiana State University. He teaches sociology and cultural geography at CSU, where he loves to connect with students.
“I feel that our major goal is to change teaching and learning approaches, so that all students from diverse cultural groups will have equal opportunities to learn in a creative and emphatic educational environment,” said Beekman.
His passion for teaching is also noticed by his CSU colleagues. “Dr. Beekman is a compassionate and inspirational faculty member. His passion for teaching is evident in his courses and in communications with students and colleagues. It is an honor to work with such a scholar who brings out the best in those around him,” said Traci Frees, department chair of General Studies.
“Dr. Beekman challenges his students to do better. Evaluations from his students have always been excellent. He has inspired students not only to study diligently but to expand their experiences into the workplace and their daily lives,” said Barbara Daniel, professor and lead faculty. “Many times, I have read letters to Dr. Beekman that refer to his exemplary teaching style. To describe Dr. Beekman’s professional style in a few words, I will quote a student who wrote: ‘You have picked topics that were challenging yet still fun to write about. On behalf of me and all of the soldiers currently deployed, thank you for the support.’ ”
Beekman is very appreciative of the comments and support. “I love what I do and I look forward every day to logging in and start working. I look forward every day to interacting with the students.”