Former Faculty Update: Dennis Becker
by Laura Nelson
Dennis Becker served as a faculty member in the Department of Forest Resources from 2005 to 2015, teaching classes in environmental policy, analysis and problem solving. He was instrumental in launching the Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management major in 2007, developed from the previous Environment and Natural Resources major and the Environmental Sciences major. His research focused on state and national forest policy, community assessment of wood energy viability, and evaluation of private forest landowner actions and motivations.
Since 2015, Dennis has worked at the University of Idaho, first as the director of the Policy Analysis Group. There, he helped state, local and federal agencies with various natural resources policy questions related to wildfire, forest products industry development, and rangeland management practices. Currently, he is working with the Policy Analysis Group to assess mid- and long-term market impacts of a doubling of timber harvesting on federal lands to address wildfire concerns. The analysis looks at changes in timber prices over time and subsequent changes in jobs and income, resulting in changes in fire risk and fire transmission to communities, and changes in forest carbon emissions as a result of these actions.
Since 2018, he has served as the dean of the College of Natural Resources, where he led a university-wide effort to re-envision the environmental science program. Among other special projects, he was involved in fundraising and partnership development for a new university basketball area constructed by Idaho companies using wood from the University of Idaho Experimental Forest.
“I recently had the chance to walk the hallways of Green Hall. I knew I would miss my friends and the students, but it felt like just yesterday that I was dreaming up the first policy analysis class and preparing to teach 130 students in my first natural resource policy course,” said Dennis. “I miss the sun-lit hallways of Green Hall and my little office tucked away in the corner where I could banter with Gary Johnson. I am forever grateful for the personal and professional lessons my friends and students have taught me.”