Phi Beta Kappa Cites Herbeck

Phi Beta Kappa Cites Herbeck

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

From commenting to the media on Bush-Gore debate strategies to teaching about cyber law, Assoc. Prof. Dale Herbeck (Communication) has become one of BC's busiest, and most quoted, faculty members.

Recently, Herbeck gained another distinction when he was selected to receive the 2000 Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award. The award is given annually by the academic honor society's Boston College chapter to a faculty member who has achieved excellence as a teacher and advisor.

"He's been one of the most popular professors for about a decade so it's good to see that he was recognized this year," said Phi Beta Kappa chapter president Assoc. Prof. Richard Tresch (Economics), who said Herbeck consistently receives a high number of votes for the award.

"He's dedicated to his students and he's been a great leader for the Communication Department," said Tresch.

"It's a great honor and I am very thankful for it," said Herbeck, who is chairman of the Communication Department and an expert on free speech and the First Amendment. He is the 13th winner of the award since its inception in 1990.

An Ohio native, Herbeck has long been known among BC students for his engaging and entertaining teaching style.

Assoc. Prof. Dale Herbeck (Communication)

"I think that people who are trained in communication naturally know how to draw the interesting or humorous points out of a subject," he said. "The trick is to teach this way without downplaying the serious aspects."

Herbeck teaches courses on the First Amendment and communications law, including a popular and relatively new course on cyber law, which focuses on legal issues raised by the proliferation of the Internet. Many of these subjects, such as the controversial on-line music service Napster, have yet to work their way into written law and therefore make for interesting classroom discussion, he said.

"It's quite a fascinating subject to teach because there's new material out there everyday," he said. "As a teacher these are frightening things to teach because you're faced with the possibility of not having the answers to questions raised by your students."

Herbeck also frequently offers his expertise on free speech, the Internet and other related subjects to the media. Most recently, he was interviewed by Associated Press story on the case of a male teenager from Brockton who won a court decision allowing him to attend school dressed as a girl, and interviewed by WGBH-FM and WMEX-AM on the second presidential debate.

In addition, Herbeck is among a panel of experts invited by the National Journal to assess the three presidential debates.

Herbeck earned his master's and doctoral degrees in communications studies at the University of Iowa, where he also served as debate coach. Upon his arrival at BC in 1985, he took on the role as director of the award-winning Fulton Debating Society, a position he held for nine years.

He has contributed 30 book chapters and scholarly articles to such journals as Argumentation and Advocacy, Communication Research Reports, Forensic Educator, Free Speech Yearbook, International Journal of Argumentation, Journal of Communication Studies, and the National Forensic Journal.


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