Dr. Beck is Professor and Coordinator of Environmental Science and Policy and former Director of the Professional Science Master's in Environmental Management and Sustainability
Dr. Beck's research and teaching interests focus on policies that integrate environment and development goals, conservation incentives and campus sustainability. In 2019 he and colleague Dr. Michael Wasserman of Indiana University received their second $300,000 National Science Foundation grant integrating ecological and social research methods to examine how effectively economic incentives encourage landowners to maintain tropical forest fragments and assessing the extent that these fragments maintain ecosystem services. Over the next three years, this grant will fund 15 student research projects in Costa Rica, Panama and Uganda. He teaches a variety of environmental policy courses, including Introduction to Sustainability, Sustainable Austin, Environmental Politics and Policy, Sustainable Development in Costa Rica, Communities and Wildlife Management in Africa and also teaches Survey of Africa for Global Studies majors. He has led five student groups to Costa Rica with the EcoLead program and has taught field courses for undergraduates in France, Chile and South Africa and for graduate students in Costa Rica. He serves as a delegate to the Organization of Tropical Studies in Costa Rica and is a member of the Wild Basin Advisory Board. Prior to joining St. Edward's University, he spent five years working in Kenya and Uganda, and has been a consultant on African environmental conservation with the World Wildlife Fund and the World Bank.
Ph.D., Indiana University 2000
M.A. Yale University 1992
A.B. Occidental College 1986
Wasserman, M. and P. Beck. 2019-2021. Comparing the Influence of Economic Incentives and Land Use Patterns on the Conservation of Tropical Forests and Primates in Panama, Costa Rica and Uganda. National Science Foundation International Research Experience for Students Program. Funded $300,000.
Publications & Articles
Tafoya, K., Brondizio, E., Johnson, C., Beck, P., Wallace, M., Quiros, R. and M. Wasserman. 2019. Protected areas and ecotourism relate to lower deforestation, higher primate species richness, and higher group encounter rate compared to payments for ecosystem services in Costa Rica. Manuscript submitted to PLOS ONE December 2019.
Johnson, C., Beck, P., Concilio, A., White, K., Quiros, R. and M. Wasserman. 2019. National parks are essential to Costa Rica’s conservation strategy portfolio as indicated by forest characteristics. Manuscript submitted to Conservation Biology April 2019
Beck, P., Quiros, R., Johnson, C. and M. Wasserman. 2019. Biological research stations as central nodes in promoting North-South collaborative networks for teaching and research. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 39: 31-38
Recent Academic Presentations
P. Beck. 2019. Incorporating high impact practices into short and longer term study abroad experiences for environmental and sustainability education in Costa Rica. Paper presented at the Consortium for Agro-Ecological Research and Education in Sustainability in the 21st Century Symposium. Alajuela, Costa Rica.
P. Beck, M.D. Wasserman, K. Alfaro, R. Flores, E. Johnson, T. Johnson, S. Mattecheck, A. Kropf, T. Steiniche, M. Wallace, A. Hall, A. de la Rosa, A. Webb, and A. Iruri-Tucker. 2018. Measuring the effectiveness of landowner incentives at ecosystem service provision across forest fragments in Costa Rica. Paper presented at 4th North American Congress for Conservation Biology. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
M.D. Wasserman, P. Beck, T. Steiniche, E. Johnson, A. Kropf, S. Mattecheck, T. Johnson, R.Quiros Flores, K. Alfaro González, M. Venier. 2017. Assessing the effects of conservation incentives on primates across forest fragments in Costa Rica. Paper presented at the International Congress for Conservation Biology. Cartagena, Colombia.
P. Beck and R. Cornue. 2017. Loving them and loathing them: Conflicting Attitudes Towards Deer Management Alternatives in Central Texas. 2017. Paper presented at the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences Annual Conference, Tucson, AZ.