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The distinctive character of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is defined by the faculty's demonstrated capability to fulfill the values of the Teacher Scholar Philosophy; a philosophy guided by a serious and continuing commitment to teaching, scholarship and service in the belief that scholarship complements and enriches excellence in teaching and service.

Adapted from the Teacher Scholar Philosophy of SIUE, Teacher Scholar Philosophy Working Group, 6/2/08

Dr. Randall S. Pearson

Professor and Chair, Department of Geography

Research Focus:
Remote sensing for agricultural and environmental monitoring

Remote sensing for geomorphic mapping and modeling

Modeling of mine subsidence in areas with abandoned underground mines

Dr. Randall Pearson

Recent Honors / Awards / Recognition:

1998 Sigma Xi Researcher of the Year Award

2001 University Teaching Excellence Award

2002 Emerson Electric Teaching Award

Primary Courses Taught:

  • Earth Science
  • Physical Geography
  • Geomorphology
  • Raster Based GIS
  • Remote Sensing
  • Computer Mapping
  • Seminar in GIS


B.S. Geology – Murray State University (1984)

M.S. Geosciences – Murray State University (1986)

Ph.D. Physical Geography – Indiana State University (1993)

How does SIUE support your professional growth or activity as a Teacher-Scholar?
During my time at SIUE, I have been able to (even encouraged to) participate in applied research.  This applied approach to my research has supported my professional growth as a Teacher-Scholar in a number of ways.  First, it has generated a substantial amount of external funding that has be used for both undergraduate and graduate funding, as well as aiding in the maintenance of Geography’s state-of-the-art GIS facility.  Second, applied research helps keep me on the leading edge of the technology which results in better and more up-to-date classroom instruction.  Finally, applied research keeps me in-tune with the geographic needs of government and industry, thereby allowing me to stay current in each of the subjects that I teach.  I believe it is much more powerful to teach about something one has actually done, rather than something one has only read about."

What is a unique aspect of your professional life that enhances your service to the academic or greater community?
"Although I am a physical geographer by training, I have worked endlessly with the local school district (District 7) to help them deal with the ever growing student population of Edwardsville and the surrounding areas.  Through my academic knowledge of GIS, I have been able to support the school district with many of the very difficult spatial decisions it has faced over the last twelve years, including the modification of school boundaries, the identification of new school locations, the delineation of hazardous walking zones, and the continual mapping of internal and external student migration.  I can say, without a doubt, that Edwardsville District 7 is one of the most progressive districts in the state with respect to the technology it uses to make the spatial decisions."

How has one mentor or event shaped your career decision to become a university professor?
"Dr. John Mylroie at Murray State University was largely responsible for my decision to enter academia.  Dr. Mylroie (who is now at Mississippi State University) recognized several things about me when we first met.  He saw the fear of a first generation college student who had no intentions of ever going to college.  In fact, I thought college was for rich people or smart people and I didn’t fit in either category.  Dr. Mylroie also understood my poor background and my financial struggles.  Finally, Dr. Mylroie recognized (and helped remove) the big chip on my shoulder that resulted from years of insecurity and my absolute belief that I did not belong in higher education.  I think about each of these when I teach one of my favorite classes at SIUE (Introduction to Earth Science).  It is similar to the first class I took at Murray State University with Dr. Mylroie.  Through this class (and the many others I teach), I try to give back to the students every time I walk into the classroom.  When I teach, I try to draw from the many events in my life that have been connected together to bring me to that that very point in time, and once in a while, I feel like (through my compassion and understanding) I am able to make a difference in a student’s life."
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