Welcome to the Geology Department at Radford University!

We are a small but full-service program that provides students with a basic framework for a professional career in the field of geology, for graduate studies in geology, or for licensure to teach earth and space science. Although our students enter a wide variety of professions within the field of geology, from volcanology, glaciology to tectonics, we take pride in our Environmental and Engineering Concentration that provides our students with hands-on experience in the technology and equipment that is used in the geotechnical and environmental field. We are located in the beautiful Valley and Ridge of southwest Virginia, and classic rock exposures and research opportunities of wide variety are close to campus. Learn more about the Geology Department »

Geology Professor Dr. Parvinder Sethi receives distinguished teaching award

Dr. Parvinder Sethi

The Donald N. Dedmon Distinguished Teaching Professor Award is Radford University’s most prestigious award. It is named in honor of Radford University’s 4th president.  Nominees must have an outstanding record of teaching at Radford University, be professionally active in their discipline, and be recognized by colleagues and students as thoroughly knowledgeable in the subject matter and current scholarship of their teaching discipline. They should be skilled and effective in the use of innovative and creative teaching methods. Their students should be challenged to think critically, to inter-relate learning across disciplinary boundaries, and to initiate their own inquiries and lifelong learning. The recipient of this year’s award is Dr. Parvinder Sethi, Professor of Geology.


Parv is in his 21st year of full-time teaching at Radford and attributes his passion for his career to a high school teacher in India who demonstrated everyday: “teach like it is your last day.”  His teaching philosophy is also about “walking the talk.” When he teaches about volcanoes, glaciers, mountains and oceans, he goes to such places, conducts research and brings back first-hand knowledge to enrich the learning of his students. But he is best known for the relationships with his students and his ability to engage, enrich and inspire. He is a professor who rates his success by the success of his students.  Parv is recognized for always going the extra mile when it matters most and uses a variety of teaching styles to make sure every learner is able to understand each and every concept.  He feels that he has succeeded when he can make a student feel that he or she is the “only” one in his class regardless of the class size.  One student of his shared that Dr. Sethi sets high standards for his students work and these high standards help create a quality academic experience. Another of his students shared that in today’s world, diversity is the majority. Classes have a variety of age ranges, levels of learning and economic backgrounds.  In Dr. Sethi’s class, we are all afforded the same opportunity and treated equally.  He recognizes strengths in each one of us and helps prepare us for our future.   

Parv chose Zachary Yates as his scholarship recipient.  Zach embodies some of the best qualities a professor can hope for in a student.  He has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the rigorous geology curriculum and exhibited a remarkably high level of critical thinking and inquiry in his undergraduate research regarding black shales and ancient climate change.  Zach has been on the Radford Dean’s List; is a member of the Radford Geology Honor Society; and is the 2017 recipient an Outstanding Student Scholarship from Radford.  Zach possesses a keen sense of leadership, having mentored younger undergraduates in geologic research techniques and he believes in giving back to his community by volunteering at SELU and the New River Carilion Medical Clinic.  Dr. Sethi said that he considers it a privilege to have worked alongside Zach.

2017 Fall SETHI and YATES - Dedmon Award Pic 02 smaller

Radford University President Dr. Brian O. Hemphill, Mr. Zachary Yates, Dr. Parvinder Sethi, and Provost Dr. Graham Glynn at Fall 2017 Convocation.

New Faculty

Dr. Sincavage

The Geology Department is pleased to share news of addition of a new tenure-track faculty member – Dr. Ryan Sincavage who comes to us from Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Sincavage has over 20 years of experience in academia and industry with a focus on understanding how surface processes are transmitted and stored into the sedimentary record. After he finished his undergraduate degree from Penn State, he spent 4 years in the oilfield services industry working on 3-D seismic vessels in basins all around the world, from the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Canada, Brazil and west Africa. He completed his Masters at the University of Colorado, followed by several years in the environmental consulting industry, mainly working on geophysical detection of unexploded ordnance (UXO) at former military installations across the U.S. His true passion was for teaching, however, and after a 1.5 year stint as an adjunct lecturer in the department of Geography and Enviornmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver, he was hired as a full-time instructor. He recently finished his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, focusing on the myriad ways fluvial system dynamics interact with active tectonics and climate to create the complex stratigraphic record of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta in Bangladesh.

Ryan is happiest when out in the field collecting data, and his favorite courses to teach include those with a large field component. An east coaster originally, he grew up just off I-81 in upstate New York and is excited to be back in the Appalachian Mountains of his youth. He looks forward to many years of mentoring the great students of the geology department at Radford through coursework and exciting research projects locally, regionally, and internationally. When not prepping for class or working on his research, you can usually find him hiking in the forests and mountains with his dog Juno, cycling on windy back roads, skiing (either downhill or cross-country) during the winter and finishing the day with some good music and a pint of local craft beer (or his own- he has been home brewing for 20 years).

News & Events

  1. Professors provide expertise to media outlets »


    Radford University professors provided their expertise to a variety of media outlets.

  2. Radford University Geology Department digitizes and donates maps to local Scout reservation  »


    Generations of Scouts will be able to better navigate and explore a beloved outdoor destination thanks to the efforts of Radford University's Geology Department.

  3. Radford University celebrates historic announcement and names the Artis College of Science and Technology »


    Radford University announced today that alumna Nancy E. Artis ’73 and H. Pat Artis, Ph.D. will contribute $5 million to Radford University to establish the Artis Endowed Scholarship Fund.

  4. Fire Ecology students participate in prescribed burn at Selu »


    Students in Radford University Associate Professor Karen Power's Fire Ecology course got a fiery hands-on experience in the field this month.

  5. Radford research and faculty featured in Science Channel Show »


    Radford University Geology Instructor George "Paki" Stephenson was featured in an episode of "Secrets of the Underground," a new Science Channel television show that explores strange subterranean locations in the country.

  6. Summer Bridge provides rich and inspiring experience for aspiring women scientists  »


    There was no fishing from the Summer Bridge or dangling one’s feet into the drifting current on a warm sunny day.

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