John Beck

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Labor & Industrial Relations
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Why were you attracted to MSU?: 
I came as a spousal appointment with my wife, Ann Austin, when she was recruited in 1991 (ultimately becoming a tenure track professor and then tenured a few years later) . For me, it was a return to a campus where I did my undergraduate work in the early 1970's, a return to the state where I was raised and did two degrees, and an arrival at one of the top Schools of Labor and Industrial Relations in the US.
What makes MSU a special place?: 
The notion of making skills and information accessible and useful in line with the land grant (now "World Grant") mission is very strong in my life and work. The campus is a beautiful environment full of interesting, committed and vibrant people.
What are some of your favorite places in East Lansing or the Capitol Region?: 
We love the MSU gardens, Fenner Arboreteum, the MSU Dairy, the East Lansing Art fair, The Great Lakes Folk Festival, the Michigan Historical Center, the MSU Museum, the Kresge Art Museum.
What is your favorite thing to do with your partner and or family on campus?: 
See above, plus the Michigan Writers Series at the MSU Library, the wide range of speakers and topics covered in campus lectures, and other such facets of the rich intellectual environment that is the hallmark of the great university.
What are some of the highlights of your academic experience at MSU? (eg teaching, research, community outreach, collab, etc): 
I love my work with Michigan unions and employers which focuses on workers gaining greater voice and increased job security, employers gaining greater effectiveness and viability, and communities retaining vitality and stability. I enjoy all the work that I have done with the MSU Museum in a joint program I co-direct with Yvonne Lockwood called "Our Daily Work/Our Daily Lives" which looks at the broad area of workers culture (the broad range of artistic and cultural expressions of "work"). I have enjoyed a partnership with Karen Klomparens and others at the Graduate School on our project pushing for more successful conflict resolution and the setting of mutual expectations involving graduate students and their mentors. I have enjoyed immensely the myriad opportunities to work as a facilitator with campus colleagues as they have moved forward on strategic planning, implementation of change initiatives, and creating stronger organizational connections and effectiveness at MSU.
What else should new faculty know?: 
MSU is a big place with a wildly wonderful diverse community of faculty, staff, students and neighbors. You can make the most of your experience here if you are willing to get out, see what is happening, make connections, and support (or if need be, create) the things that you value and desire to see as a part of this campus. I have found that you can make great progress if you do not believe that it is the responsibility of others to create your opportunities and if you are willing to balance the patience/impatience needed to move any new ideas or alternatives forward.
MSU is a big place with a wildly wonderful diverse community of faculty, staff, students and neighbors.
Associate Professor & Associate Director