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The Distinguished Faculty Award in Teaching was presented to Dr. Robert Beeler, an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in the College of Arts and Sciences.
“Even in his earliest years at ETSU, students referred to Robert as well organized, entertaining and witty, and knowing the material inside and out,” states Beeler’s nomination, which also lauds “his high level of organization, the liveliness of his classroom environment, his ability to keep students engaged, and the clarity of his presentations.” He is called a “master teacher” and “a faculty member for whom teaching is his passion.”
Beeler has taught 12 different courses in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, from undergraduate general education to graduate courses, and has chaired or served on numerous thesis committees. “This illustrates the breadth of his teaching and mentoring activities,” his nominator writes, “from graduate seminars and thesis projects, to major classes and undergraduate research, and introductory courses with students for whom mathematics holds various degrees of trepidation.”
The nomination also notes that “There are not many math teachers whose students describe their classes as fun.” Beeler’s students, however, have written comments in his course reviews praising the passion, excitement and animation he brings to the classroom, as well as his willingness to help them individually.
Beeler’s “classroom lectures were always very intriguing,” wrote a former student. “He made his classes so enjoyable that I never wanted to miss a day of class. He also does great working one-on-one with his students. He takes a deep interest in the success of his students … (and) pushes (them) to do a little more and to go beyond what they think their boundaries are, but he does so in a way that makes (them) want to do more for themselves, not just for a grade.”
In addition to teaching, Beeler is an active researcher and holds an extensive record of service to the university and profession. He is the author of “How to Count: An Introduction to Combinatorics and Its Applications,” a text for upper-level undergraduates.
Beeler, who joined the ETSU faculty in 2007, holds a Ph.D. in mathematical sciences from Clemson University. After receiving his associate degree in mathematics at Pellissippi State Technical Community College, he earned both B.S. and M.S. degrees in mathematics and statistics from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.