Welcome to Geography. My name is Tom Crawford. I am privileged to serve as the chair of this awesome department. I joined Virginia Tech in 2017 after prior appointments at Gettysburg College, East Carolina University, and Saint Louis University. We are an outstanding department housed in the #1 ranked program of natural resources within VT’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. We aim to grow the quality and quantity of our teaching, research and outreach in coming years in ways that will enhance our reputation regionally, nationally and globally. I invited you to visit me in my Major Williams Hall office or contact me to learn more about all that we do.
We are known for our high quality and quantity of instruction and advising. Faculty members Tim Baird, John Boyer (aka the Plaid Avenger), Drew Ellis, Bob Oliver, and Stewart Scales won awards in 2017-18 recognizing their excellence and innovation in teaching. Other faculty have won awards in the past. A sampling of new courses in recent years include: Sustainable Urbanization, Geospatial Land Change Modeling, Climate Change and Society Impacts, Tropical Meteorology, and Africa Together. Geography is well positioned in the new Pathways general education curriculum and leads a new Pathways minor in Sustainability. Department faculty taught international field courses this year that took students to Antarctica (Resler), Croatia (Bukvic), and New Zealand (Kennedy). Instructor Dave Carroll again led a group of students on his popular Stormchasers course to the Midwest in summer 2018. Geography teaches the highest volume of credit hours at VT on a per faculty basis.
Along with outstanding teaching, the department has been highly productive in our research mission with many publications in top journals and three currently active National Science Foundation funded projects investigating topics in Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Tidewater Virginia. Other active faculty research themes include human health in Appalachia, alpine biogeographic response to climate change, water resources in South Asia, spatial analysis of tropical cyclones, and urban mega-events (e.g. the Olympics) to name a few.
We are committed to diversity and inclusion in terms of faculty and student representation and experiences as well as outreach activities. Following the 2017 Charlottesville incident, Geography co-hosted a campus event engaging with themes of race, space, and place at which the president of the American Association of Geographers was the keynote speaker.
As we move to the future, strategic planning will ensure our already healthy status, allow us to grow with the College, and steer us to remain current and nationally relevant within our disciplines.
I encourage prospective students to explore our website and to arrange a campus visit. We will give you personal attention.
Alumni and friends are always welcome to drop in announced or unannounced. We love to hear what you are doing and share with you our current activities.