Skip to main content

Steve Reynolds named ASU 'President's Professor'

Steve Reynolds, Professor of Geosciences at Arizona State University - and long-time member of the Arizona Geological Society - was honored recently by ASU President Michael Crow as a ‘President’s Professor'.

The ‘President's Professor’ honorific is one of Arizona State University's most prestigious faculty honors. It rewards “enthusiasm and innovation in teaching, the ability to inspire original and creative work by students, mastery of subject matter and scholarly contributions”.

Steve has been a prolific innovator in geoscience education. He engages students in hands-on personal experience observing and experimenting to pique their curiosity and encourage them to query their environment, i.e., geologic setting. He has done research in how students learn and in how they think about geology (the new field of geocognition). He gives a dozen or so talks each year to other universities and colleges about how cognition research informs the best teaching strategies.

A prolific author of scientific papers and book chapters, Reynolds collaborated with J.P. Jenney in editing AGS’ Digest 17 – Geologic Evolution of Arizona (the Big Red Book). You can peruse an abridged list of Steve’s published books and journal articles at Over the past decade, he turned his hand to writing college textbooks. He has written three introductory geoscience textbooks (Exploring Geology, Eaxploring Earth Science, and Exploring Physical Geography), which have won awards for their innovative design based on cognitive and educational research. He is also coauthor of the Davis and Reynolds Structural Geology textbook.

Dr. Reynolds received the ASU Department of Geology Outstanding Teacher Award four times. (Note: the ASU Dept. of Geology is now called the School of Earth and Space Exploration.)  

Outside the teaching arena, Steve Reynolds’ research involves the structure, tectonics, stratigraphy, detrital-zircon provenance studies, and mineral deposits of the Southwest.

From 1981 to 1992, Steve was employed at the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS). According to AZGS’ Jon Spencer (Senior Geologist, retired), “Steve led the geologic mapping program at the AZGS for 11 years (1981-1992) and demonstrated his excellent mapping skills and understanding of metallic mineral deposits. He also took the lead in moving the AZGS into the computer era.”

Among his many contributions to AZGS maps and reports – Steve appears as an author or co-author on dozens of AZGS geoproducts - he was sole author of the 1988 Geologic Map of Arizona.  As a member of the Arizona Geological Society, Steve served on the Executive Committee as a councilor, VP of Programs, and as President of AGS in 1990.

Select publications of Steve Reynolds available at the AZGS Document Repository.

Reynolds, S.J., 1985, Geology of the South Mountains, Central Arizona. Arizona Geological Survey Bulletin-195, 75 p., 1 map plate, scale 1:24,000.

Johnson, J.K., Reynolds, S.J., and Jones, D.A., 2003, Geologic map of the Phoenix Mountains, Central Arizona: Arizona Geological Survey Contributed Map CM-04-A, map scale 1:24,000, 16 p. and 1 map sheet.

Spencer, J.E. and Reynolds, S.J. (eds.), 1989, Geology and Mineral Resources of the Buckskin and Rawhide Mountains, West Central Arizona. Arizona Geological Survey Bulletin 198, 272 p.

Cover image: Steve Reynolds leading an AGS field trip to the Dreamy Draw area of the Phoenix Mountains (2012). Interior image - Steve at South Mountain, Phoenix, Arizona.