The School of Kinesiology and Recreation at Illinois State University recently introduced Dr. Brent Beggs as the school’s new director, a role in which he is managing the immense uncertainty and challenges that come with the academic year of 2020.
Dr. Beggs studied at Southern Illinois University–Carbondale where he earned his master’s degree in Recreation Administration and decided he wanted more, so he moved to Indiana University to study Recreation and Leisure Behaviors and earned his Ph.D. Dr. Beggs had no initial intentions of getting an administrative position, but instead wanted to teach and have an impact on college students. He went on to say, “I had some amazing professors when I was in college and I knew what an impact they had on my life. I wanted to be able to do the same thing. After many years of teaching at Illinois State, my academic background and professional experience in administration led me into the director position.”
His new role has its share of challenges as well as the uncharted waters we call 2020, and it leads to his days being “anything but typical!” Dr. Beggs finds himself doing something different every day except, of course, being in Zoom meetings for a large portion of his days. One of his many challenges is the most rewarding one: helping colleagues or students with issues that need to be resolved. He wants to clear a path for students to be successful and for faculty and staff to be able to effectively and efficiently do their jobs.
Dr. Beggs is using his education and background as the Program Director of the Recreation and Park Administration (RPA) program (where he chaired or served on 10 faculty search committees to recruit and hire the amazing faculty in RPA) to have a better understanding of what motivates people and the different perspectives they bring to the table. The days may be filled with emails, Zoom meetings, planning and preparing reports, but he shares that, “my favorite part of the day is when I get to spend time talking or meeting individually with the faculty, staff, and students in KNR.”
Dr. Beggs has had many fond memories during his time working at Illinois State, like driving to Colorado for a conference with students, hosting alumni for Homecoming events, and helping an ISU alum propose to his girlfriend, who is now his wife (and also an alum). He does have an all-time favorite moment that he shared, “My favorite memory during my time at ISU is when my son graduated from the KNR program and I was able to hand him his diploma when he walked across the stage.”
His final words for recent KNR alums are to stay connected to KNR and ISU. Dr. Beggs says, “we enjoy seeing your careers develop, but we can still be a resource for you, even after you are gone. We can write you a letter of reference, help you secure a student intern, or even connect you with other alums to help you advance in your career. Keep in touch with your professors, come find us at conferences, and make trips back to campus. Once a Redbird, always a Redbird! You will always be a part of the KNR family.”