Marcus Gillespie


Marcus Gillespie
Department of Geography and Geology
P.O. Box 2148
Huntsville, TX 77341

Phone: (936) 294-1945

GEOG 1401 Weather and Climate
ISCI 1436 Foundations of Science
GEOG 3362 Map and Map Interpretation
GEOG 4432 Geomorphology

Science Literacy

Associate Professor of Geography and Associate Dean in the College of Sciences


Geographers come to the discipline by a variety of paths. In my case, I became a geographer after obtaining undergraduate degrees in both Psychology and Earth Science, along with a minor in philosophy. People, rocks, and Socrates – not exactly a standard combination of interests… As I struggled to find a graduate program that would enable me to integrate these wide ranging interests, I – quite by chance – saw a geography program listed at the University of Wyoming and I realized that I’d found the perfect discipline for my interests. With geography, I could study the natural environment and human behavior (rocks and people). So, I headed to Laramie and the
Rocky Mountains and obtained a Master’s degree in Physical Geography – geomorphology to be specific. After marrying my wife, Nisa, who is from Thailand, I started a Ph.D. program at the University of Hawaii, but finished the degree at Texas A&M. I have had the opportunity to live in Texas, Virginia, California, Missouri, Wyoming, Hawaii (Oahu) and the U.S. Virgin islands (Saint Croix), as well as the opportunity to travel, and this has enhanced my appreciation of geography and, hopefully, my ability to teach it.

My primary interests are in conservation and science literacy. To address science literacy, I developed a new course called Foundations of Science, which is a multidisciplinary science course that examines extraordinary claims (e.g. UFOs, Big Foot, astrology, ghosts, alternative medicines, etc.) using information from various sciences as well as critical thinking skills. This course was developed as part of the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan to enhance critical thinking among SHSU students. The course has proven to be very successful in enhancing critical thinking and science literacy and most students find the information very useful on a personal level because it helps them make more informed decisions.

I have taken students on four international trips to Thailand, one of which included a trip to China and the other a trip to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. My hobby is teaching a Korean martial art called Hapkido, which combines Jujitsu and Tae Kwon Do techniques. I’m a 5th Dan Black Belt in this art and have the good fortune of being able to teach a class on campus. I thoroughly enjoy sharing my interest in Hapkido with my students. I also enjoy woodworking.

H.G. Wells once said that, “Civilization is a race between education and catastrophe”. It is this idea that inspires me to teach and ties together my interests in conservation, science literacy, and critical thinking. I’m motivated by the belief that knowledge of these things can improve the lives of individuals and make the world a better place.