The Department of Geography aims to enhance the understanding of complex human-environmental interactions in a rapidly changing world through actionable research and robust learning opportunities that improve human and environmental well-being. We are especially interested in extreme events, urban environments, social justice and the use and advancement of geospatial technologies. We offer baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees and promote interdisciplinary partnerships at Kent State University and beyond. Follow the links to the left to learn more.

Several faculty members are affiliated with the GIS/Health & Hazards Lab. The lab’s research lies in the intersection of hazards and health, using various geospatial approaches to work at the scale of intervention. We also have interests in climate change and variability, synoptic climatology, severe weather, precipitation, teleconnections and hazards. We emphasize applied climatological studies, examining the impacts of climate and extreme weather on human health, coastal environments and other natural systems. 

Kent State faculty have experience researching the status quo of the world’s political economy and how it engenders uneven development, violence, environmental abuse and other concerns. Our scholarship has included issues of national identity, geopolitical imaginaries, segregation and diasporas. We also research the intersection of violence and memory from a geographic perspective and have hosted research conferences including Race, Ethnicity, and Place and the International Society of Landscape, Place and Material Culture. Faculty also maintain a connection with the May 4 Visitors Center on campus, which commemorates the May 4, 1970, shootings of peacefully protesting students.

Researchers focus on issues of urban sustainability with an interest in how humans interact with and affect their environment. Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) presents opportunities to collaborate on projects that connect urban design to the physical environment. We study natural hazards, post-disaster environments and environmental health. We have a strong interdisciplinary focus on water resources, including an annual Water Resources Symposium. Research is conducted across the globe, including work on water access in sub-Saharan Africa, water infrastructure and political ecology in Cambodia and disease transmission in Haiti. While our research is global, we also recognize that we have an excellent laboratory in our own backyard including the redevelopment of downtown Kent. Cleveland and Akron are also excellent opportunities to study “Legacy Cities” in the post-industrial economy and our location on the Cuyahoga River and near the Great Lakes provides an excellent setting for studying local water issues. Our work includes programming, analysis, visualization and applications connected to natural hazards, urban ecology and public health. The Computational Social Science Lab and GIS Health and Hazards Lab offer research opportunities in multiple areas of geospatial technologies. In 2018 we will host the Applied Geography Conference, which will explore many of these technologies and the relationship to on-the-ground outcomes. Researchers in Kent State’s Department of Geography actively develop and implement new methods on spatiotemporal-social network analysis/modelling/ simulation for different application domains such as crime, economic development, disaster response, land use, migration, public health, sustainable communities and urban planning. We also work on the analysis of social networks in a more qualitative fashion.