The University of Alabama

English Professor Selected for Prestigious Burnum Award

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ‚ The University of Alabama selected Dr. Phillip Beidler, professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences, as the recipient of the 1999 Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award.

Established by Dr. and Mrs. John F. Burnum of Tuscaloosa to recognize and promote excellence in research, scholarship and teaching, the award is one of the highest honors the University bestows on its faculty. It is presented annually to a professor who is judged by a faculty selection committee to have demonstrated superior scholarly or artistic achievements and profound dedication to the art of teaching.

Beidler will be honored as the Burnum Award winner during a ceremony and reception on Wednesday, March 15, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Morgan Hall lobby. The event is open to the public.

Beidler, who holds a bachelorís degree from Davidson College, and a masterís and doctorate from the University of Virginia, has taught at UA for more than 26 years. In addition to his duties as professor of English, Beidler has also served the University in a number of other capacities, including assistant chair of the English department, director of the Graduate Studies program, and assistant dean of the Graduate School.

“I am tremendously honored — taken aback, actually — to be considered for this award,” said Beidler. “This recognition is very much the pinnacle of my career. Yet, while I am truly honored to be recognized by my peers for my many years of work, I am even more energized as I look to the future of continuing to educate young men and women at The University of Alabama.”

Beidler has steadily built a national reputation as a cultural analyst through his extensive publishings on the literatures of the Vietnam War, early American culture, Alabama history, and the popular culture and cultural aspects of war in general. Much of the inspiration for his writings comes from his own personal experiences in the Vietnam War, where he served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Since 1982, Beidler has published five single-author books, with two pertaining to Vietnam literature and others addressing the culture of the 1960s, World War II and American culture. Beidler has also contributed to numerous other texts, journals and literary publications.

In 1999, Beidler was presented the prestigious Eugene Current-Garcia Award for Distinction in Literary Scholarship by the Association of College English Teachers of Alabama — one of the stateís top academic honors. He received the Henry E. Jacobs Award for Graduate Teaching in 1989 — an award voted on by graduate students — and in 1991 he was chosen a Distinguished Teaching Fellow within the College of Arts and Sciences.

“I have enjoyed the opportunity the University has offered me over the years to grow in my teaching and publications, and I would like to live up to this award and repay the confidence expressed in me by continuing to exhibit the same passion toward my students and career that I have always done,” said Beidler. “I truly love what I do and not many people can say that. Over the years I have been blessed with many things, including the opportunity to do something day in and day out that I simply love and in something that makes a difference.”

Beidler says his teaching methods incorporate an atmosphere of fun, dedication and discipline. This makes for a more productive atmosphere in which to teach and learn, he said.

“I have a lot of fun in what Iím doing, and I want the student to pick up on that and enjoy his or her learning experience as well,” said Beidler. “I certainly look for dedication within my students, and I reward that. But I also think that enjoying what you do is an important factor in success. I always look at every class like it is going to be the best class I have ever taught, and the students play a major part in that plan because they have to want to be taught, and they have to want to enjoy the learning process. One piece of advice that I could offer my students would be to enjoy what you do and have a passion for doing it. I have certainly found that success comes a lot easier to those who have a true love and passion for what they are doing.”

Burnum Award honoree names are permanently displayed on a bronze plaque in the lobby of UAís Rose Administration Building.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Lance M. Skelly, Office of Media Relations, 205/348-3782