University of Wyoming Extension News

UW assistant professor receives early career undergraduate teaching award

Jeff  Beck

Jeff Beck

Exemplary contribution in teaching and advising of range management students at the undergraduate level has netted a teaching award for a University of Wyoming wildlife habitat restoration ecologist.

Jeff Beck, assistant professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, received the Range Science Education Council’s Early Career Undergraduate Teaching Award at the 2013 Society for Range Management Honor and Student Awards Ceremony in Oklahoma City, Okla., Feb. 6.

“It was an honor, absolutely an honor to be recognized by them,” said Beck, who is in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “It was also equally satisfying to earn the award because the person who won the career teaching award was one of my mentors, Karen Launchbaugh, professor of rangeland ecology and management at the University of Idaho. Right after I received my award,they announced hers.”

The Early Career Undergraduate Teaching Award is sponsored by the RSEC and SRM.

“Attending the SRM meeting is a highlight of my year,” said Beck. “I really enjoy attending those meetings, interacting with scientists from other institutions and keeping up to date on the whereabouts of rangeland scientists. It’s also a great way to share our research results with other scientists from around the world.”

The award is given to range science instructors who have taught less than 10 years.

“I think I’ve been highly successful at developing solid, practical courses, and my students find the courses that I teach very valuable for their future careers,” said Beck.

John Tanaka, head of the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, nominated Beck.

“Jeff is a rare find in the academic ranks these days,” said Tanaka. “His course evaluations are on par with some of the best-experienced instructors that we have on our faculty, a few of which have received the RSEC Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award as well as the top University of Wyoming teaching awards.”

Beck, a native of Bountiful, Utah, received a Ph.D. in forestry wildlife and range sciences from the University of Idaho and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in wildlife and rangeland resources from Brigham Young University.

He began at UW as a post-doctoral scientist in 2005 in the Department of Zoology and Physiology then joined the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management faculty in 2007.

“I teach undergraduate courses in rangeland ecosystem assessment and monitoring, rangeland vegetation management techniques and wildlife habitat restorationecology,” said Beck. “I have a particular emphasis on studying restoration efforts relative to species inhabiting sagebrush steppe ecosystems.”