Becky Lentz

Becky Lentz

Faculty Associate, Director of the RGK Center's Tech & Society Initiative

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, Department of Radio-TV-Film (Communication Studies with a concentration in communication technology and policy)
M.A., Southern Illinois University (Applied Linguistics)
B.A., University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (Spanish and Latin-American Studies, with Honors)
Research Areas:
Media Governance (Media and Democracy; Digital Equity and Inclusion; Media and Data Justice)
Critical Perspectives in Third Sector Studies
Critical Perspectives in Discourse Studies
Teaching Areas:
Topics in Philanthropy and Social Change (Social Justice Philanthropy; Role of Philanthropy in Policy Change; International Perspectives)
Internet Governance from a Social Justice Perspective
The Social Justice Implications of Big Data
Public Interest Policy Advocacy

Becky Lentz is an accomplished scholar, educator and strategist with more than 30 years of combined experience in the public, private and social sectors. Her research and teaching at the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service focuses on technology's impact on society, with a concentration in technology's socioeconomic dimensions and implications as it relates to advancing digital rights, equity, justice and inclusion. Dr. Lentz is designing an initiative to highlight the role of philanthropic actors in agenda setting and policy advocacy to promote human-centered applications of digital technologies.

The Ford Foundation appointed her its first full-time program officer for media policy and technology in 2001. There she designed and implemented an initiative supporting public interest-oriented media and technology infrastructures and greater public participation in policy change, investing more than $32 million in national and international projects. As Faculty at McGill University between 2008–19, she developed a multidisciplinary concentration in media governance as part of the university's Communication Studies program before returning to Austin in 2020.

Dr. Lentz currently serves as a City Fellow with UT's Equitable and Regenerative Cities Flagship Project as part of Planet Texas 2050, which provides recommendations on Resilience Hubs in Austin. She also completed a review of the City of Austin’s Grant for Technology Opportunities Program (GTOPs), and was selected for UT's 2022-23 cohort of The OpEd Project's Public Voices Fellowship at UT Austin. 

Selected publications include Civil Society in the Digital Age published by Oxford University Press; Media Infrastructure and Media Policy Activism in the Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media; a co-edited book published by the UT Press, Inequity in the Technopolis: Race, Class, Gender, and the Digital Divide in Austin, and Working for Internet Freedoms: Network Neutrality in the United States and the Labors of Policy Advocacy, among other writing related to Tech & Society.

Contact Information
Campus location:
SRH 3.318