Northwest College

Teaching & Learning Center

Faculty spotlights

Learn more about what makes Northwest college’s faculty truly excellent! 

In collaboration with The Committee on Faculty Development and Morale and the office of College Relations, the TLC is excited to showcase the great work of Northwest College's educators! In this faculty spotlight series, we will feature members of our faculty that are recognized by nominations from their peers based on demonstrated excellence in teaching, mentoring/advising, service, or scholarship. Spotlights will also be promoted by the Marketing, Communications & Web office in a variety of media.

Bob Becker

Posted: January 20, 2023

When Bob Becker graduated from North Dakota State University in 1992, he had no idea what he wanted to do with his degree, but he did have a professor/coach who was able to point him in the right direction, and that valuable tip more than 30 years ago set him on the path to his current position at Northwest College.

A faculty member since 1994, it was a combination of Bob’s teaching skills and background in forensics that opened the door. As a member of the forensics team at NDSU, his coach recommended him for a grad assistant position at Colorado State when Bob’s life was at a crossroads. It put him in the right place at the right time when Duane Fish, chair of the Northwest College Communications Division, called his counterpart at CSU to ask if he had any grad students with a forensics background who might be interested in working at NWC. It just so happened that he did.

Three decades have come and gone since then, and now Bob is the chair for Communications, along with the Agriculture, Business and Equine Divisions. He earned his PhD from North Dakota State in 2019, continues to serve as Assistant Professor of Speech Communication and coach of the forensics team too, and enjoys being part of a program that offers a variety of opportunities to its students.

“We have courses that look at all the different areas of communication, like the rhetorical tract of public speaking with argumentation and persuasion, or the social science tract where you have interpersonal, family and non-verbal communication,” Bob says. “We offer classes in both those areas, and not very many community colleges do that.”

Considering his long-standing involvement in forensics competition, it makes sense Bob’s academic specialty is in rhetoric and public address. But when he wants or needs a break from speech and debate, Bob often escapes through his love of science fiction. He also owns an impressive collection of coffee mugs and if you look closely at the shelves behind his desk, one very special bobblehead. The value of what he teaches though extends far beyond his classroom or office.

“The ability to debate with people and not take it personally or be offended is a hugely valuable skill. I don’t think we’ll ever run out of the need for the study of communication.”