Straight from earning his Ph.D. in 2014, Dr. Jason Kaiser came to Southern Utah University with a literal understanding of the world and how it works. As an Assistant Professor of Geology in the Department of Physical Science, Kaiser's classroom is rich and dynamic, incorporating his global research into the curriculum.
Kaiser received his Ph.D. from Oregon State University and wrote his dissertation on 'the volcanology, stratigraphy, and geochemistry of the Pastos Grandes Caldera Complex in SW Bolivia'. He previously studied at the University of Massachusetts and Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Kaiser teaches the following classes:
- GEO 1030 / 1035 Natural Hazards and Disasters
- GEO 1050 / 1055 Geology of the National Parks
- GEO 3210 / 3215 Mineralogy
- GEO 3330 / 3335 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
- GEO 4070 Applied Geochemistry
- GEO 4960 Field Geology
He began college as an engineering major and was passionate about science. While watching a documentary about Yellowstone he quickly became fascinated with volcanoes.
"[The scientists] were freaking out about a Yellowstone eruption, and I didn't even know Yellowstone was a volcano at the time," said Kaiser. "I knew nothing about volcanoes and thought, 'This is what I need to be doing. I'll never get tired of watching mountains explode!'"
Throughout his education, Kaiser has travelled to Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Iceland, the Bahamas and across the United States to research in various geological locations. He loves teaching in southern Utah in the shadow of one of the biggest volcanoes because of the diverse landscape and research opportunities available to undergraduate students.
"I get to teach students about geology in one of the premier geologic settings in the world," said Kaiser. "From day one, our students are involved with research. Whether it's in the classroom or independently with faculty, students are doing self-driven research."
Kaiser was recently published by The Chronicle of Higher Education for his article What I'm Reading: 'Disrupting Ourselves'. In the article, he analyzes writing from Randall Bass, vice provost for education and a scholar of teaching and learning at Georgetown University, and how to integrate and redesign his courses in geology to better fit together.
All of the research Kaiser is participating in right now involves his students. The interdisciplinary nature of geology allows him to work with sharp and motivated people who develop their own passions within the field of geology. Because of the prime location of SUU, Kaiser and his students travel across the southwest corner of the country, from Bryce Canyon National Park to Moab to Nevada, and study in the field rather than using high-end lab equipment.
*Writing & Project Management Contributor: Marlie Scott