Message from the Head





 Welcome to the virtual view of our Geography Department at Oklahoma State University.  We are an active group of faculty and staff supporting one of the finest geography programs available.  Department specialties emphasize sustainability and resource management, cultural and historical geography, urban and transportation systems, and global studies.  Faculty expertise in sustainability and resource management centers on water, atmospheric/surface modeling, outdoor recreation, soils, agriculture, and the economics and policy of resource allocation and use.  The department has a longstanding tradition of research in cultural geography, including the geography of sport, language, traditional technology, and Native Americans. Our faculty are involved in research projects related to historic preservation, geoarchaeology, and cultural and political ecology.  Expertise in urban and transportation issues also drives our research on transportation corridors, highway hazards, urban studies, and network analysis.  Every faculty member in the Department of Geography has thematic expertise to support our offerings in global studies, collectively maintaining expertise in every region of the world.  Many regularly participate in study abroad and half are actively engaged in international field research.  Many of our faculty and students specialize in spatial analytical skills, and we offer an exceptionally strong GIScience program (GIS, GPS, remote sensing, spatial analysis) and a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems.  We offer B.S., B.A., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Geography, and work with an interdisciplinary graduate program on campus to offer the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Science.

Student interest in Geography programs remains strong and almost 100 bachelors, masters, and doctoral students make Geography their home department.  Our Certificate in Geographic Information Systems is a popular certificated program at OSU and we recently added a new BS program in Geospatial Information Science for those who want higher order skills involving geospatial tools and data management.  Our faculty includes a productive and stable group and new faculty growth has made the department larger than it has ever been in its 70 year history.  Every faculty member in the department remains actively engaged in research and outreach activities in Oklahoma, in the USA, and around the world.  In addition to a productive group of scholars in our GIS, remote sensing, and palynology and geoarchaelogy laboratories, several are engaged in field research, instruction, or outreach in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, and around the world in South Africa, Jordan, China, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mexico, Cuba, Morocco, Spain, Botswana, Ukraine, and Australia.  Most of these activities have been centered in our regional specialties in the central and southern USA, Central Asia, Australia, South Africa, Latin America, Amazonia, and the Middle East.  Here at OSU, we have recently hosted international scholars from Iraq, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, and China.  Two international journals are edited by Geography faculty: the Journal of Cultural Geography, and the Journal of Central Asian Studies.

In fall 2010 we moved into beautiful, refurbished space in historic Murray Hall, at the south entrance to campus.  After 70 years of OSU Geography we are very excited to have our own space, configured to our needs.  The department provides space for faculty and graduate offices, a physical geography laboratory, three GIScience training facilities, and the Hecock library in the beautifully appointed Keso Seminar Room.  We also have the only palynology/paleoecology teaching and research laboratory in the state and surrounding region.  Two campus research support centers are managed by the department: the OSU Cartography Service, a full-service production cartography facility, and the Center for Applications of Remote Sensing.

Several of our students and faculty have recently earned competitive awards and special appointments.  We were very pleased to select Emily Ellis and Taylor Iberosi to work on research projects with Drs. Mathews and Hanks as part of our Foundation-funded Geography Mentors Program.  Reuel Hanks was named to a Dan and Cathey Humphreys Chair in International Studies, our first faculty member to receive an endowed chair position.  Geography masters student Lauren Wood and doctoral student Matt Haffner received scholarships with the South Central Arc User Group regional competition at the SCAUG meeting in Oklahoma City, and undergraduates Emily Ellis and Nick Deyoe each received an inaugural SST Software Scholarship.  The OAMC Dairy Barn is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places after a successful nomination by doctoral student Thomas Craig.  Carlos Cordova and Ph.D. student Tom Cox raised the visibility of Geography when they were selected for the cover of the 2014 Arts & Sciences magazine to headline a story about their research efforts with the Helena Mammoth, which currently resides in the department, and Dale Lightfoot and Tom Wikle appeared on the 2015 cover of the A&S Magazine to accompany a story about their study abroad course in Cuba.

I trust that you will find what you are searching for on these web pages.  If you have questions, please contact us at the addresses given on our faculty pages.  We look forward to hearing from you, and would be happy to visit with you when you find yourself passing near Stillwater.

All the best,
Dale Lightfoot
Professor and Head