About - Hospitality & Tourism Management, The L. Robert Payne School
headshot of Larry Beck

Larry Beck


About Larry Beck

Larry Beck is Professor and Advisor for the Outdoor Resource Management emphasis. His current teaching assignments include environmental and cultural interpretation, outdoor resource management, and cross-cultural perspectives of tourism. Professor Beck uses technology to advance student learning through two educational grants: as a Faculty Fellow (People, Information, and Communication Technologies) and Academic Scholar (Universal Design for Learning). Beck designs and teaches blended and distance education courses, and publishes and presents his findings about the effectiveness of online learning. He has received several awards for his teaching. Beck’s research and writing addresses optimal experience theory, communication theory, environmental interpretation, and the symbolism and management of protected areas. He has written more than 100 abstracts, articles, research papers, reviews, grants, and technical reports. The following books are authored or coauthored by Professor Beck: “Interpretation of Cultural and Natural Resources” (2nd Edition, 2003), “Moving Beyond Treeline” (Revised Edition, 2010), “Interpretive Perspectives” (2010), and “Gifts of Interpretation: Fifteen Guiding Principles for Interpreting Nature and Culture” (3rd Edition, 2011). The last book is used by the interpretive profession internationally and has been translated into Chinese. Beck’s writing has also been widely adopted and applied by state and federal agencies including the “NASA-NPS Earth to Sky Project” in which NASA scientists are working with National Park Service interpreters on communicating issues associated with global climate change. In 2009 Beck received the National Association for Interpretation “Meritorious Service Award” and in 2011 he received the “Fellow Award,” the Association’s highest honor for career achievement in guiding the interpretive profession through instruction, research, and writing. He is currently working with National Park Service officials to help them chart the future of interpretation and visitor services as we approach the 100-year anniversary of America’s national parks in 2016. Professor Beck is co-investigator in a multi-million dollar grant funded by the National Cancer Institute that looks at sun safety precautions in outdoor recreation pursuits at resorts throughout America. This study will continue from 2011-2014. Professor Beck serves on numerous university committees. He was elected to the University Senate and Senate Executive Committee. He chaired the University Personnel Committee, College Curriculum Committee, College Academic Planning and Policy Committee, and College Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion Committee. He has served as a consultant on various interpretive planning and environmental stewardship projects, and on the executive board of the Cabrillo National Monument Foundation.


  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota (Graduate School of Education), Minneapolis, Minnesota