Kurtis C. Burmeister, PhD
Associate Professor of Geological & Environmental Sciences
Website: Personal website
Website: Wasatch-Uinta Field Camp
Geosciences Center. Rm 109
University of Illinois, PhD Structural Geology
University of California at Santa Barbara, MA Vertebrate Paleontology
University of California at Santa Barbara, BA Biological Sciences
I am a structural geologist and my research focuses on the dynamic processes that deform Earth's crust into enormous mountain belts. I am also what you might call a "dirty boots" kind of geologist - I love being in the field. When away from campus, I'm usually working in one of my current research areas: the Desolation Wilderness Area of the central Sierra Nevada, upstate New York, and western Ireland.
I actively incorporate students in my research activities. These experiences provide students with opportunities for travel and train them to think scientifically - to identify research questions, manipulate data, and interpret results. Student researchers working under my advisement are coauthors on 14 of my 23 professional meeting presentations in the past 5 years. Two of these student presentations won the prestigious Sigma Gamma Epsilon Austin A. Sartin Best Undergraduate Best Poster Award at annual meetings of the Geological Society of America(Klemm et al., 2013; Gunderson et al., 2012).
The only thing I love more than geology is sharing what I know with students - especially in the outdoors. I designed my introductory-level Geology of California course around four-day-long camping trips that explore the geology of northern (fall) and southern (spring) California. I also teach upper-division courses in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Structural Geology, and Geologic Field Methods. I enjoy these upper-division classes because they allow me to work closely with students on applied concepts in the classroom, lab, and field. I am also the co-Director of the Wasatch-Uinta Geology Field Camp, a 6-week long capstone course taught each summer in the vicinity of Park City, Utah, for graduating geology students.
I challenge students in my classes - I am fair, but have high expectations. I believe that cultivating a strong work ethic, self-confidence, responsibility, independence, and leadership are just as important as mastering the earth sciences. I use a variety of technologies in the classroom, but believe that many concepts are communicated more effectively in the field. My courses train students to think critically, solve problems by employing cross-disciplinary approaches, and to be effective communicators.
GEOS 51 Dynamic Planet (summers)
GEOS 61 Geology of California (fall & spring semesters)
GEOS 102 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & Spatial Analysis
GEOS 114 Structural Geology
GEOS 161 Geologic Field Methods
PACS 2 Pacific Seminar