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Teacher Feature: Randy Reed



I had a conversation with Randy Reed this week and gathered a few fascinating facts about this very insightful teacher. Reed has been teaching at Shasta College since 1999, he looks at Earth systems science as a way to travel into the past, not only to discover, but to learn. As a teacher he puts into perspective, the importance of Earths’ history in relation to its role in the way climate behaves, and what it affects.


I knocked on the door of the Earth sciences faculty office; taped above the door, a small piece of paper reads, Earth, Ocean, Space, All in one Place. Reed is up to date with data in his field; poster sized maps line the walls, while the desk lay scattered with packets of information regarding jobs obtainable with a bachelors degree in any of the several Earth Sciences.


Reed holds two separate bachelors degrees, one in the studies of geology and the other in animal biology. He studied at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, and later at Northern Arizona University. He pointed me to a picture above his desk depicting the NAU campus, he commented on its beauty, reminiscent of his years there.


He currently teaches 12 classes within Earth sciences. During lecture classes, Reed will cover the whiteboard with drawings which allegorize what he is teaching. These drawings are often meticulously done, he uses varying colors to discern different effects and processes.


Of the 12 classes he teaches there are between 8 – 10 field trips to geologically significant areas per semester. He exuded joy when talking about field trips, students have come up to him and said they enjoy being in the environment they are learning about. He broke down his field trip budget for me, showing me how much he allocates from his budget per student per trip. Reed recently received a cut to his budget and had to convert some overnight trips to day trips.


Using the data in his field as a reference and a guide he is an advocate for sustainability and cleaner energies, he keeps his research on such matters up to date, and mentions long term effects of air and water pollution in his lectures. He speaks on deforestation and the economic impacts of mining and oil drilling and promotes the importance of waste management and pollution reduction.


He was proud to show off the design and layout of the earth sciences faculty office.  He gave a short history of the room from his start at Shasta College to present day. The room was a faculty office when he started, which was then converted to a computer lab. The lab was not used very much, and when monies became available to remodel the office, Reed was there to take part in the planning.


Often times, when a new faculty member is hired, new furniture is purchased to their preference. The older furnishings get stowed in a warehouse and are auctioned off if not used. Mr. Reed, resourceful as can be, used several pieces of furniture from this warehouse and had a sink and wall re-installed which was previously there. The vintage furniture Reed chose is solid wood in construction unlike newer fiberboard successors. Oak cubbies line the walls and vertical pull out drawers underneath a sturdy countertop, safely store fossil specimens. The remodel was significantly reduced in cost due to Randy’s approach.


Schooling helped Reed find his passion, he recalled some of his classmates basing their academic goals on minimum GPA requirements, some cases worked while others didn’t. Reed followed his own path, after dabbling with social sciences and arts he found himself in a geology class. He was intrigued by the way the rocks on Earth tell a bigger picture than what they appear. He also enjoys paleontology (the study of life existing in different geologic periods). There are not a lot of jobs in paleontology but the degrees Reed has obtained correlate that type of work.

Reed promoted the student path by saying, “Be the struggling college student, it really got me to explore myself and find what I wanted to do… Not everybody gets the chance but if you can it is worth it… Keep at it, there may be classes which are annoying and even at times frustrating but stay in there follow your own path.”

By Elias Nesser

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