Beth Dodson receives John Ruffatto Award

Associate professor of Integrated Natural Resources Beth Dodson is the winner of this year's John Ruffatto Memorial Award, presented during UM's Charter Day. Please join us in congratulating her on this recognition of her work!

The award was established to encourage and reward UM faculty who impart practical, applicable principles into their classroom presentation. Applicants must have gained practical knowledge in their teaching specialty through involvement with a Montana enterprise and/or through their work as a consultant. Successful applicants will demonstrate how this practical experience was brought into the classroom and how the students benefited.

Beth Dodson grew up in western Oregon and earned a bachelor’s degree in Forest Resources from the University of Idaho and graduate degrees in Business and Forest Engineering from Oregon State University. While at OSU, she was part owner of a logging and forest consulting company. This experience of starting and maintaining a business highlighted how little traditional programs in forestry, and even business, cover the basics necessary to be a successful business within the timber industry. 

After a year on the forest engineering faculty at Oregon State University, in 2005 Dr. Dodson accepted her current position on the Forestry faculty here at the University of Montana. Here she conducts applied research and teaches courses in forest operations and planning. Her teaching philosophy is rooted in a strong belief that the best way to learn is to do, and therefore she relies heavily on partners throughout the Montana timber industry to help provide students real problems to solve and opportunities to see how theory applies to actual practice. In turn, relationships built up with industry professionals and constant contact with forest managers and practitioners allows Dr. Dodson to keep her course content current and relevant.

Because she expects so much from forest managers and practitioners, she does her best to give back. Dr. Dodson is a regular participant with Montana’s biennial review of forestry best management practices implementation and effectiveness. She just completed service as the state chair for the Montana Chapter of the Society of American Foresters and is a past chair of the Missoula Chapter of the same organization. She has been awarded Forester of the Year and Outstanding SAF Citizen by local and state chapters of SAF, and twice has received the Wambach Faculty Service Award from the WA Franke College of Forestry and Conservation.