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

New 2015 Summer I Online course:

GEO 377 Geography and Globalization











Description: Soccer is the world’s most popular sport. Globally, over 250 million people actively play and over three billion people watch the World Cup. This course uses soccer as a case study to better understand the breadth and magnitude of globalization in the modern world. Based on the perspectives of cultural geography, economic geography and political geography, the class explores how soccer both informs and reflects our changing world. Students will study how the modern game has evolved at both club and national levels, particularly in relation to immigration and economics, and will examine how soccer variably infuses different cultures and political systems around the world.  Built upon readings, videos, individual research, and discussion forums, students will prepare multiple essays and a research paper on a topic of their choice. Students should have a general understanding of club and national team structures or be prepared for additional background reading.

Format: This course is divided into 4 modules, one for each week of the summer term, plus a “finals” period over the last 2 days of the course. Due dates are associated with each module, so you can work on the material at your own pace each week. For each section, you will be expected to read 100-200 pages of material (from the books and beyond), watch a weekly recorded video lecture that supports the content, contribute substantively to on-line discussions regarding these topics, and research one topic in greater detail to present to your classmates in essay form. During the finals period, you will select from a list of questions and write synthesis essays covering major themes covered over the term.


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.