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Dr. Robert Burk and Dr. William Schlacks Become Muskingum’s First Distinguished Professors

BOB BURKDr. Robert Burk Honored as Distinguished Professor of American History

Robert F. Burk, Ph.D. joined the Muskingum College faculty in 1984 and has demonstrated sustained excellence in teaching, academic leadership and scholarly publication. Dr. Burk has been named Arthur and Eloise Cole Distinguished Professor of American History.

Nationally, Dr. Burk has been awarded research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Historical Association. At the College, he has received the highest faculty honors: the William Oxley Thompson Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the William Rainey Harper Award for Excellence in Research, twice.

Dr. Burk is the author of five books and numerous publications. His scholarship has focused on the Civil Rights legacy of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the DuPont family in national politics, and labor relations in American baseball. His books include:

  • Much More than a Game: Players, Owners and American Baseball, 1921 to Present. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2001. The book was a finalist for the Seymour Medal (Society for American Baseball Research), Dave Moore Award (Elysian Fields Quarterly), and nominated for the North American Society for Sports History Award, the Herbert Hoover Book Award and the Hagley Prize.
  • Never Just a Game: Players, Owners and American Baseball to 1920. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1994. The book received the Society for American Baseball Macmillan Award for Research.
  • The Corporate State and the Broker State: the DuPonts and American National Politics, 1925 – 1940. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower: Hero and Politician. Boston: Twayne Publishers (a division of G.K. Hall & Company), 1986.
  • The Eisenhower Administration and Black Civil Rights. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1984. Second Printing, 1986.

Dr. Burk received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. His is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Iota, the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, Ohio Academy of History, and the Southern Historical Association, among others. He also serves as an advisor to the Rhodes, Danforth, Marshall, Truman, Fulbright, Madison, George Mitchell and Ford Foundation Scholarship programs.

BILL SCHLACKSDr. William F. Schlacks Named as Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts

Since joining Muskingum in 1985, William F. Schlacks, Ph.D. has been recognized consistently for his expertise as a teacher, leader and musician. For these outstanding contributions to students, teaching and the community, Dr. Schlacks has been named to the Ruth Dorsey Neptune Distinguished Professorship of Fine Arts.

Dr. Schlacks is the founding conductor of the Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds, and the conductor of the Muskingum College Wind Ensemble and the Aldersgate Choir of the New Concord United Methodist Church. Prior to joining Muskingum College, he was the founding conductor of the Fort Wayne Area Community Band, for which he received the Medal of Merit for Community Service from the City of Fort Wayne.

He is a prolific and versatile composer. His musical compositions are written for solo voice as well as an array of both vocal and instrumental ensembles. Some of his recent works include:

  • The Lake, a six movement work for wind and percussion.
  • Of Forest and Hills, a three movement work for brass quintet.
  • Variations upon Ein’ Feste Burg, a work for percussion ensemble.
  • An Appalachian Folk Songfest, a five section work for clarinet and wind ensemble.
  • Psalmody, a three movement work for choir.

As Chair of the Department of Music at Muskingum College, he has led the department through a period of programmatic growth and enhanced community outreach. These include the addition of faculty in applied areas, the expansion of the department’s chamber ensemble program, the development of a community division, and the creation of annual YouthFest weekends. These festivals bring young musicians to campus for an intensive experience of master classes and performances.

Dr. Schlacks received both his bachelor of science in education and his master of music in trumpet performance from Northern Illinois University, and his doctoral degree in music education from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. He is a member of the Music Educators National Conference, Ohio Music Education Association, the College Band Directors National Association, Phi Alpha Sinfonia and serves as a member of the board of the Ohio Society for Teacher Education. He was also the founding president of the Ohio Private College Instrumental Conductors Association.