I am a Assistant Teaching Professor and the Undergraduate Coordinator for Geography and Environmental Studies in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at UNC Charlotte and I absolutely love what I do! I am an avid life-long learner and teaching is my passion. I believe the field of geography is one of the most important and practical disciplines in existence and I strive to instill in my students a curiosity about this dynamic planet we call home. In my courses, I encourage the development of geographic thinking as we examine the “why of where” and the interconnections between the natural environment and society. My mission is to inspire students to achieve their best and empower them to not only create the life they desire, but to discover what impact they can accomplish in their lives. The opportunity to positively impact students and “geo-evangelize” young minds is the most gratifying aspect of my career. If you have questions about Geography or Environmental Studies courses, majors or minors or simply want to discuss graduate school or career aspirations, please feel free to email me or stop by my office. I’m always happy to chat.
Research and Teaching Interests:
- Environmental Hazards and Disasters
- Geospatial Technologies
- Spatial Analysis
- Sustainable Development
- Human Geography
- Geography Education
- Ph.D. (2014) Geography, University of South Carolina
- M.Ed. (2002) Secondary Education, University of South Carolina
- B.A. (1998) Social Studies, Presbyterian College
- GEOG 1101 – World Regional Geography
- GEOG 1105 – Location of Human Activity
- GEOG 3000 – Hazards and Disasters
- GEOG 4600 – Geography Seminar
- LBST 2301 – Spatial Analysis of the United States
- LBST 2301 – Global Sustainable Development
A former high school geography teacher, I began my teaching career in 2001 spending seven years in the classroom teaching World Geography and AP Human Geography then served two years as an Assistant Principal. After earning my Ph.D. in Geography at the University of South Carolina in 2014, I served as the Education Programs Manager for the South Carolina Geographic Alliance for four years prior to joining the Geography faculty at UNC Charlotte in 2018. Within the department, I serve as the chair of the Communication and Outreach Committee and am a member of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. I am also an Associate Graduate Faculty member.
Outside of the Department, I am the 2022 President of the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE). I serve on the Board for the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) as well as the Board for the Geography Education Specialty Group for the American Association of Geographers (AAG). I am a member of the Geography Education National Implementation Project (GENIP) Coordinating Committee and I serve on the Editorial Boards for both the Journal of Geography and Sustainability. I serve on the Test Development Committee for the AP Human Geography exam and am also a Reader for the exam. Additionally, I am a National Geographic Certified Educator and a First Lieutenant on Search and Rescue for the South Carolina State Guard (Disaster Relief Organization).
I conduct research related to geography education with specific interests in geospatial technologies and spatial thinking as well as curriculum and teacher development. I also have research interests in environmental disasters and emergency management.
- Gall, M., T. Sheldon and L. Collins. 2021. “The Economic Impact of School Closures During the 2015 Flood in Richland County, South Carolina.” Risk, Hazards, and Crisis in Public Policy DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/rhc3.12242.
- Collins, L. 2019. Creating Geospatial Thinkers. In Examining Multiple Intelligences and Digital Technologies for Enhanced Learning Opportunities, ed. Robert Z. Zheng, pp.112-123. Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global.
- Collins, L. 2018. “Student and Teacher Response to Use of Different Media in Spatial Thinking Skill Development.” International Journal of Geospatial and Environmental Research 5(3):1-16.
- Collins, L. and J. T. Mitchell. 2018. “Teacher Training in GIS: What is Needed for Long-Term Success?” International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education DOI: 10.1080/10382046.2018.1497119.
- Collins, L. 2018. “The Impact of Paper Versus Digital Map Technology on Students’ Spatial Thinking Skill Acquisition.” Journal of Geography 117(4):137-152.
- Mitchell, J. T. and L. Collins. 2018. “Into the ‘Field’: An Exercise in Exploring Local and Not-So-Local Landscapes.” The Geography Teacher 15(3):106-116.