Professor of Earth and Environmental Science
Professor Roof's teaching and research focus on environmental issues such as climate change, pollution, and land conservation. He and his students travel frequently to Death Valley and the southwest for climate change field research. Professor Roof also coordinates a climate change research program in the High Arctic for undergraduate students called the "Svalbard REU." He consciously integrates the scientific, political, and social aspects of environmental problems in his classes and projects. He teaches and supervises projects in geology, climate change, resource conservation, land use planning, geographic information systems, environmental chemistry, and the evolution of scientific thought.
Environmental Earth Science: In this course we will investigate how the natural world operates and examine how society interacts with Earth. Class discussions and weekly projects will introduce the major concepts and techniques of earth science, environmental sciences, and resource management, providing grounding in the geosciences and forming a basis for the interdisciplinary study of environmental topics. This course will emphasize a hands-on, field- and lab-oriented approach to earth and environmental science in which students will learn to observe, pose questions, build hypotheses, and develop answers. Through local field trips, we will explore the history of our planet, and earth-shaping processes such as continental drift, glaciations, and river erosion. By learning how our planet evolves, we can then evaluate the current state of Earth and solutions to environmental ills.
Hampshire College is committed to becoming more sustainable in all ways. In 2018, Hampshire earned a "Gold" rating in the "Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System" (STARS), which is a program of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). This prestigious rating recognizes the College's sustainability achievements across academics, operations, social justice, and more. Students in this course will start by examining Hampshire's 2018 STARS submission and identifying our current strengths and weaknesses. We will then investigate the school's sustainability practices and explore new ways for the college to enhance its sustainability, from increasing community well-being to decreasing carbon emissions. Students will research, develop, and evaluate their chosen sustainability initiatives and work with College staff, faculty, and administrators toward the implementation of these initiatives. This experience will help students rise to the challenge of developing truly sustainable practices and implementing them effectively in organizations and institutions.
Modern civilization was built on fossil fuels, but will global warming and other consequences of fossil fuel use bring the end of civilization? In this class we will explore how humans make and use energy, its benefits, and its consequences. We will examine all forms of energy but focus on renewable electrical energy. On the global scale, we will explore the history, current practices, and future potential of renewable energy from all angles, including technological, political, and environmental. On a local scale, we will examine renewable energy projects including Hampshire's PV arrays, New England wind turbines, and farmers producing electricity from cow poop. Students will be evaluated on enthusiasm, a series of short research papers, a final project, and group participation.
Earth's surface is always changing. Geomorphology is the study of Earth's surface, its landforms, and the processes that shape landscapes. The goal of this course is for students to gain an understanding of Earth surface processes, how these processes influence human activities, and how the landscape could change in the future. This course will include field trips and projects that examine different landforms and processes in New England, including glaciation, river processes, coastal erosion, and mass movement. This course is designed for students with interests in ecology, geology, civil engineering, hydrology, forestry, and soil science.
Introduction to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Natural Resources Management: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are evolving computerized tools that greatly facilitate describing, modeling, and managing our natural resources. In this course, we will learn GIS tools, specifically ArcGIS and Google Earth, necessary to map and analyze natural resources, focusing on the Hampshire College campus. We will learn about making and using maps, using technology ranging from counting footsteps to satellite navigation (Geographic Positioning Systems, GPS). We will learn how to create new GIS data as well as find appropriate existing data. We will learn how to use GIS tools to map features, analyze landscapes, model processes, and manage natural resources. We will concentrate on learning the practical aspects of GIS as a tool for natural science investigations. In addition to class activities, students will develop their own GIS projects during the second half of the semester that allow them to pursue their specific interests and refine their GIS skills.