South-Central Section - 47th Annual Meeting (4-5 April 2013)

Paper No. 31-1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM


DUNCAN, Laurie Schuur, Jackson School of Geosciences (DGS), University of Texas at Austin, 2225 Speedway, Stop C1160, Austin, TX 78712-1692 and OLSON, Hilary Clement, Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 10100 Burnet Rd., Bldg. 196, Austin, TX 78758,

Professor Leon Long has inspired tens of thousands of students and colleagues over his long career of teaching and research at the University of Texas. Dr. Mark Cloos, professor and former chair of the UT Department of Geosciences, estimates that Leon Long may have single-handedly created more geologists than any other single person in our field. Dr. Long teaches with energy, humor and passion, and his enthusiasm is infectious. At his retirement celebration last spring, which was not so much a retirement as a transition to more geologic research, travel and, of course, teaching, the tributes all named Dr. Long’s singular ability to connect with students on a personal level as the secret to his wide influence.

As geoscience teachers, we wonder, “how do we follow in Captain Geo’s footsteps?” If you ask him this question, he will tell you about his first terrifying experience of teaching a large class of 200 students, and then about how he gained his confidence, started to love teaching, and never looked back. He will also tell you that some of the best teachers he knows are the ones who were the most uncertain, and perhaps you are a person like this. And then he will turn the conversation back to what is really interesting to him, namely, tomorrow’s work.

Leon Long is tireless in his attention to the details of his ever-evolving work, including his Introduction to Geology course at UT (GEO 303), his textbook and lab manual, simply titled Geology, which is now in its 15th edition, mentoring graduate student teachers and researchers, designing field teaching expeditions, and numerous other pursuits. Dr. Long considers Central Texas to be a perfect natural laboratory for teaching geoscience students, and he continues to develop new ways to immerse students in the wonders of our local geology. He is intrigued by the ways that innovative teaching methods and technology can enhance geoscience teaching without devaluing the essential elements of what is tried and true. The best way to honor Captain Geo’s legacy is to build upon it. So as he would say, “away we go!”

  • LEL theme session.pptx (7.2 MB)