David L. Fox

Professor, Earth Sciences

David L. Fox, in glasses and beard, before a display case of rocks.

By focusing on the forces that shape the Earth rather than a timeline of geological events, David Fox shapes his students into adults who think like earth scientists.

Whether teaching From Microbes to Mammoths, a course on the history of life; required courses in earth history and field geology; or content close to his research in paleontology, Fox earns rave reviews. Students especially appreciate that he updates his material to keep pace with new fossil discoveries. 

Also, notes a former student, “he freely admitted when a topic was outside his expertise or when there was controversy about a finding.” 

As director of undergraduate studies and in related roles, Fox led a major curriculum revision that included profound changes—for example, the creation of “tracks” in geology, geophysics, geochemistry, and environmental geosciences. And besides thinking like earth scientists, advanced students now write like them, too, thanks to his key work in implementing a writing-enriched curriculum. 

A dedicated mentor, Fox shepherds students into stimulating research experiences and helps them prepare to present their work at national conferences. Sometimes, these experiences define a career.

Says another former student: “Before starting research with David, I had no direction for what I wanted to do after college. Without his help, I would not be in graduate school.”

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