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Professor’s Room: Steve Beaty, Ph.D.

Step inside the office of the techie rebel and professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science.

By Josie Lavender

March 24, 2021

Professor Steve Beaty, Ph.D., in his home office.

Steve Beaty, Ph.D., professor and chair of Computer Science, confessed that he did not take the usual straight shot into higher education. While his family is well-educated, Beaty rebelled and explored alternative paths before deciding he might be interested in higher education after all. Beaty ultimately threw himself into academia and never looked back. He began his journey in 1999 with Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he was grateful to find his zigzaggy story embraced.

“MSU Denver speaks to me in its mission and goals,” said Beaty. “I love the diversity and dedication of my colleagues and students.”

Since embarking on his higher-education journey, Beaty has proved to be an ambitious go-getter. He was the lead of the computer-security team at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, served as chair of the Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences and was twice the interim vice president of Information Technology Services.

Step into Beaty’s home office to explore his eclectic blend of tech and trinkets.

1. Teaching remotely, Beaty uses a series of computers, each for a specific task. “The Mac is only used for Teams meetings, the Linux Mint is my main development machine, and the iMac has been repurposed as a Linux Mint server for my research in cybersecurity-threat hunting.”

2. When troubleshooting, Beaty pulls inspiration from a Buddha figurine perched in his home office. Beaty shared one of his favorite Buddha quotes and broke down how it has come to help him in daily life. “‘We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think,’” he said, quoting the Indian philosopher and religious leader. “So stop feeling and start thinking. Everyone feels; few think.”

3. “I have at least five pairs of headphones scattered around, and one of my three stereo systems resides in my office as I enjoy hi-fi.”

4. This collection represents a fraction of the bookshelves in Beaty’s house. “I’m an avid reader. I’ve been reading to expand myself for about 35 years. General (James) Mattis suggests that if a person hasn’t read 100 books, they are functionally illiterate. I agree. I’ve recently finished ‘A Confederacy of Dunces,’ ‘The Exercise of Power’ and ‘Neuromancer.’ Currently deciding what to read next.”

5. “I always wear a watch, and sometimes I don’t know where my phone is.” That’s why Beaty stores a mechanical watch winder in his home office. Beaty explained that some watches are kept wound from an internal pendulum that’s triggered by the wearer’s natural wrist motion. A watch winder keeps the watch wound when it’s not getting that movement from being worn. “I’m either leading- or trailing-edge,” teased Beaty. “I’m much less married to my phone than many people – somewhat ironic given the fact that I’ve been involved in the creation of the technology that fuels today’s phones. I’ve read and do recommend two books about this phenomenon: ‘iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood’ and ‘The Coddling of the American Mind.’”

6. An Amish quilt wall hanging. “My family is partially from Northeastern Indiana, the second-largest enclave of Amish in the U.S. I’d clearly be shunned by that community given the contents of my office.”

7. A collection of tobacco pipes. “I thought it was required to have such to be a professor, but I’ve learned differently. My favorite pipes are those that I know the artisan, as that gives me a personal connection. Due to my work on since 1993, I’ve had the privilege to get to know a number of artisans personally – most notably, the Sordinis from Don Carlos in Italy, whom I’ve become close with.”

If your faculty colleagues surround themselves with outrageous objects, alluring artwork or noteworthy knickknacks, please email with the subject line “Professor’s Room” to see them featured (or to nominate yourself).

Topics: Professor's Room

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