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About Allen J. McGrew

"My passion for teaching and research stems from seeds that were planted by my teachers and mentors during my own education. I seek to repay this debt by challenging and engaging my students to explore this dynamic and ever-surprising planet just as my mentors challenged me. This Earth has a history that is at once deep, intricate and profoundly important, impinging both on our understanding of ourselves and our ability to survive. Since my first view of mountains thrusting improbably upward to grasp the sky, I have been intrigued by how they form and what they indicate about this dynamic planet. What forces operate inside this Earth to lift some rocks into the air while sinking others to the floor of the sea? Why are such motions concentrated in certain areas, and what factors control how they evolve through time? Moreover, how do the large-scale physical structures and tectonic behavior of our planet dictate the distribution of resources and hazards that affect our ability to survive? These are a few of the questions that motivate my interests in teaching and research."

Dr. McGrew began his teaching career at the University of Dayton in the Fall of 1995, and teaches courses in introductory geology and earth science, engineering geology, structural geology, and igneous and metamorphic petrology. He specializes in tectonics, the study of mountain-building processes, and his interests have taken him to a wide variety of settings around the world from the western U.S. Cordillera to South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. He has a passion for field research in mountainous terrains and has frequently engaged undergraduate students in research on and off-campus. He is also interested in service-learning, and together with his wife and fellow teacher, Heidi McGrew, he has innovated a program called Field Trip to Planet Earth that provides introductory earth science students with opportunities to develop hands-on educational activities for elementary school children in the Dayton area. He is also committed to interdisciplinary education and is currently partnering with faculty from Sociology and Civil Engineering to develop opportunities for interdisciplinary study both on-campus and abroad.

• Associate Professor, University of Dayton, August 2001 – Present
• Coordinator of the Common Academic Program in the Sciences, January, 2011 – December, 2012
• Chair, Department of Geology, University of Dayton, August 2007 – June 30, 2011
• Assistant Professor, University of Dayton, August 16, 1995 – May 2001
• Post-doctoral Research Fellow, U.S. National Science Foundation, Structural Geology, 1992 -1994:1992-93, hosted by Dr. Martin Casey of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland; 1993-94, hosted by Dr. Geoffrey Lloyd, University of Leeds, Leeds, England
• Visiting Assistant Professor, Earlham College. (July 1, 1990 - June 30, 1992)
• Visiting Assistant Professor, Earlham College. (January 1, 1988 - June 30, 1988)

• 2011 to Present: As Coordinator of the Common Academic Program in the Sciences I led the course design team for UD’s new three-course integrated science sequence for non-science majors, The Global Citizens Science Sequence which has received support from a subaward through the NSF-supported SENCER initiative in Science education. This sequence is designed to build from an integrative course in the “foundation sciences” of Physics and Chemistry, “The Dynamic Universe,” to an integrative course in the “systems sciences” of Earth and Life Science, “Evolution and the Environment,” culminating in a “canopy elective” that allows students to choose from a suite of thematic science courses, such as “Earth and Sky.”
• 2009-2010: Chaired University of Dayton ad hoc working group on revising UD’s general education program in the sciences, the Common Academic Program; lead author of “Reading the Science of the Times,” the vision statement for reformed science education at the university;
• 2000: Contributed an essay to Special Issue of Geoscience Education: McGrew and McGrew (2000), The photoessay as a teaching tool in introductory Earth Science.
• 1999/2000: President, UD Chapter of the Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.
• 1997: Won the UD Award for Innovations in Service Learning for “Field Trip to Planet Earth” an outreach program bringing models for hands-on earth science education to local elementary schools. Also won an implementation grant from Ohio Campus Compact to support “Field Trip to Planet Earth” program

University of Dayton Department of Geology is an undergraduate department; I have mentored on average 1-2 research or undergraduate thesis projects per year since joining the UD faculty in 1995. One former thesis advisee, Jeffrey Rahl is now a faculty member at Washington and Lee University.


1995 - Present Associate Professor, University of Dayton Department of Geology


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1992 PhD, University of Wyoming ‐ Geology
1987 MS, Stanford University ‐ Geology
1983 BA, Earlham College ‐ Geology

Contact Information

Phone: 937-229-5638


Articles (8)

Book chapters (1)