Gilless has been serving as interim dean since Paul Ludden accepted the position of provost and vice president for academic affairs at Southern Methodist University in 2007.
Gilless joined the faculty in1983 and is professor of Forest Economics and Management jointly in the departments of Environmental Science, Policy and Management and of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
Gilless earned his B.S. in Forestry from Michigan State University and worked in forestry jobs in Maryland, Idaho, and Minnesota before enrolling to earn his joint Ph.D. in Forestry and Agricultural Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
His career includes teaching, research and service in Austria, China, El Salvador, and Honduras. He won the campus distinguished teaching award in 1988 and the ESPM undergraduate teaching award in 2006. He regularly teaches an introductory environmental economics & policy course and is director of the UC Berkeley's summer field program in forestry.
Gilless' academic specialties include trade in forest products, regional economic analysis of resource-dependent communities, wildland fire protection planning, forestry development and forest management decision analysis. He is particularly well known for his textbook in forest resource management and his work on modeling the pulp and paper industry and wildland fire protection system.