Ryan Kirk

Assistant Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies
Lindner Hall - Arts & Sciences 112C
2335 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244
rkirk2@elon.edu (336) 278-6477

Brief Biography

Note on Spring 2014 courses: Here are the course descriptions since they were not included in the booklet:

GEO 170: Our Spatial World (2 sh)

With the continual advancement of location-tracking smart phones, on-line mapping tools, and navigation systems, it is clear that we are living in an increasingly spatial world. This course will combine the exploration of a variety of spatial technologies -- ranging from GPS to Google Earth to Geographic Information Systems -- with an on-going discussion of how these spatial technologies are changing the way we interact with each other and with the broader world.  The course will involve hands-on exercises and readings in order to give you an introductory level understanding of spatial technologies and a deeper understanding of our increasingly connected world. Offered 2nd half of Spring Semesters.

 GEO 270: Topics in GIS (2 sh)

Geographic Information Systems are computer-based tools that open up new avenues of inquiry in a wide swath of disciplines spanning from the sciences to the humanities. This course will rotate through a series of specific applications of GIS including: government applications, business applications, environmental applications, and other topics on an ad hoc basis. Each section will include several hands-on exercises in order to give you a basic understanding of the most widely used GIS software and an appreciation for how GIS can be used in various disciplines. Contact the instructor or GIS Program Coordinator to learn the topics of upcoming offerings. No prerequisites. Offered 1st half of Spring Semesters. The Spring 2014 section will focus on GIS and Government Applications.


Ph.D. 2009. Natural Resources Science and Management, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.

M.S. 2005. Forestry, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.

B.S. 1996. Business Adminstration and Management Information Systems, William Jewell College, Liberty, MO.


Courses Taught

ENS 200: Strategies for Environmental Inquiry

ENS 250 / GE0 250: Introduction to GIS

ENS 340 / GEO 340: Water Resources Management

GEO 131: The World's Regions

GEO 360: Geography of North America


Leadership Positions

Coordinator of the GIS Interdisciplinary Program

Current Projects

1) Land use change and environmental legacies of past land use decisions in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

2) Water quality management in the Piedmont Region

3) Forest Ecology of the Elon University Forest

4) Applications of GIS across the disciplines


Recent work:

2011. Kirk, Ryan W., Paul V. Bolstad, and Steven M. Manson. Spatio-temporal trend analysis of long-term development patterns (1900-2030) in a Southern Appalachian County. Landscape and Urban Planning.

2009. Tanner, Dawn, and Ryan Kirk. Matrix to Mosaic: Habitat fragmentation from 1982-1999 in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Borneo Research Bulletin. 39: 255-268.


Recent work: 

2011. Kirk, Ryan W. Agricultural site suitability as a biophysical driver of land use change in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers (SEDAAG). Savannah, GA.

2010. Kirk, Ryan W. New opportunities for geographic research in NC using current and historic parcels data. North Carolina Property Mappers Association. Greensboro, NC. 
2009. Kirk, Ryan W. and Paul V. Bolstad. Land use and terrestrial carbon accrual in Western North Carolina, 1850-2030. Southern Appalachian Biosphere and Man Conference, Asheville, NC.
2009. Kirk, Ryan W. Opening the Appalachians: 200 years of transportation changes in Western North Carolina. North Carolina GIS Conference, Raleigh, NC.