Classroom instruction in the Earth and Planetary Sciences takes place in the newly built Strong Hall. I teach a number of formal courses at all curricular levels from introductory, to core major, to graduate. I now instruct two undergraduate classes (Geology of the National Parks; Sedimentology & Stratigraphy), and a number of formal graduate classes and seminars (Sedimentary Petrogenesis; Clastic Depositional Systems; Sequence Stratigraphy).  Additionally, I have carried a number of independent studies that have been taught as either a course or in seminar format (Planetary Surface Processes).  My course offerings provide a modern look at problems facing Earth historians and sedimentary geologists.  I strongly believe in the integration of teaching and research because the two are closely linked.

At the undergraduate level, courses represent a mixture lecture and laboratory exercises, which integrate with lecture topics. Although graduate teaching assistants (GTA) run lab sections, I develop each lab exercise myself and work with GTAs weekly to help them deliver the content. My graduate classes are less lecture oriented.  I prefer instead to make graduate students highly active participants in the teaching and learning process.  I do this through having students make regular oral presentations, write professionally formatted term papers and proposals, and read/discuss important journal articles.  Laboratory exercises tend to last for more than a single lab session and focus on complicated problem solving that integrates multiple, interdisciplinary, techniques. Field trips typically represent an essential component of most of my courses, wherein students get a chance to apply lectures and laboratory material to the “real world.”

Undergraduate Courses

Geol 101 – The Dynamic Earth (4 credit hours)
Physical processes within and upon the Earth’s surface, including the formation of rocks, plate tectonics and earthquakes, and landscapes.

Geol 102 – Earth, Life, and Time (4 credit hours)
Fossils, evolution, and ancient environments, plus a review of 4.5 billion years of Earth history.

Geol 203 – Geology of National Parks (3 credit hours)
Geologic principles, processes, and earth materials responsible for the spectacular landscapes of national parks. Focus on interactions among internal earth processes, surficial earth processes, and human interactions. Writing-emphasis course.

Geol 340 – Earth Sedimentary Processes (4 credit hours)
Earth surface processes applied to interpretation of the stratigraphic record ― weathering and soil formation, the hydrologic cycle, physical sediment transport, biological and chemical sedimentation, and sediment diagenesis.

Undergraduate Course Catalog

Graduate Courses

Geol 545 – Siliciclastic Petrogenesis (4 credit hours)
Origin and evolution of siliciclastic sediments from a geochemical and petrographic perspective. Emphasis on a quantitative treatment of major elements, trace elements and rare earth elements to extract provenance, weathering, and diagenesis information.

Geol 548 – Sequence Stratigraphy (3 credit hours)
Theoretical and practical understanding of stratigraphic sequences generated by eustatic sea level change; identification parasequences, parasequence sets, and critical surfaces using the rock record integrated with subsurface geophysical data. Weekly class exercises and field trips support lecture and discussion.

Geol 640 – Seminar in Sedimentary Geology – Clastic Depositional Systems (3 credit hours)
Examination of siliciclastic depositional environments from an actualistic perspective to understand the deep time sedimentary record. Discussion-based course using reference texts and reading from the primary literature. Field trip supports discussion topics.

Geol 640 – Seminar in Sedimentary Geology – History of Geology as a Science (3 credit hours)
Examination of the early historical development of geology as a science through reading of the contemporary primary literature during the Age of Enlightenment, including Steno, Hutton, Smith, and Werner.

Graduate Course Catalog
Graduate students in the classroom working out the petrogenesis of siliciclastic rocks as a teamwork exercise.
Undergraduate students in Geology 340 learning how to measure, describe, and interpret Cambrian-aged sandstone and mudstone near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Strong Hall – Home of the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at UT-Knoxville.
The intellectual theme of Strong Hall is Earth, Life, and Time.