Engaged Learning Exemplar: Gregory Beyer

Gregory Beyer

Professor Gregory Beyer understands the importance of engaged learning. That’s why his colleagues from the School of Music nominated him to be recognized as an engaged learning exemplar for his outstanding commitment to engaged learning, teaching and scholarship.

“The opportunity to provide young, intelligent, talented students in ongoing research, scholarship and creativity is incredibly powerful,” says Beyer, professor and head of percussion studies at NIU’s School of Music. “It is mutually beneficial and breathes life into precious and rare work in such a way that ensures a healthy and long future for projects. In a very real way, we are shepherds of our ideas, and we dance with those ideas. The ideas have chosen us, just as much as we have chosen them, and by sharing those ideas with young scholars, we ensure that the ideas cultivate a community.”

Beyer says that one of the most transformative experiences he’s had involved working with a former student, Alexis Lamb. Over the course of five semesters, their professional journey led to creating a nonprofit organization called Arcomusical NFP. Its mission is to bring Afro-Brazilian berimbau (a musical bow) into American musical culture, through education, research, composition, publication and performance.

“The decision to work with Alexis over the course of the organization is transforming the way we see ourselves as professionals and as productive members of the community,” he says. “Arcomusical is making great impacts in the region and in musical circles throughout the country. We’ve engaged in multi-day residencies at universities in Washington, Kansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York. We have released an album of our original compositions, which has received accolades and media attention on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. At the same time, we have become involved in local community building through education and performance.”

Acromusical NFP are members of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and the DeKalb Community Nonprofit Partnership. They play cutting-edge chamber music, but also see great value in performing known music for everyone in the community to enjoy. Additionally, Acromusical NFP has also engaged in K-12 educational residencies in the Meridian 223 school district in Stillman Valley, IL, through generous support from the DeKalb County Community Foundation.

Join Beyer, along with other faculty, staff and students for the first Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference. This new event is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6, and uncovers and recognizes the faculty perspective of collaborations with students and community partners. Several faculty and staff will present on best practices in engaged learning, teaching and scholarship in the Holmes Student Center. All are welcome to attend; registration is open online.

Co-sponsors of the Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference are the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning; the Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development; the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center; the College of Business Experiential Learning Center; and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information, call 815-753-8154 or email rkersh@niu.edu.

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