Dakota State University students walking around campus

Preparation + opportunity = success

That's the DSU equation. We're a four-year university with nationally recognized programs, cutting-edge facilities, and the brightest thinkers. But we're also a tight-knit, inclusive community. Small class sizes mean hands-on training and individualized attention. All this with an affordable, public school price that's among the best values in the region.

Majors & Degrees

Russell Graves

Russell Graves

Russell Graves

Assistant Professor


College of Arts and Sciences


Ph.D., Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2014
M.S., Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1997
B.A., Geography, University of Kansas, 1995


Office Location: Science Center
Phone: (605) 256-5194

Dr. Graves believes that geographic awareness plays a key role in every person’s life. This recognition of geography’s importance informs how he designs and organizes courses, delivers lectures, and establishes class activities and assessments. His goal is to encourage learning beyond the classroom well after a semester’s end. To him, the greatest compliment is seeing that a course he has taught has sparked a student’s ambition to explore the world further, whether academically or simply as a more informed and compassionate human.

  • Weather and Climate

  • Natural Landscapes

  • Human/Cultural Geography

Dr. Graves’ research specialization focuses upon historical geography and landscape modification, particularly related to the economic and environmental aspects of agricultural land use in rural communities in the American West and Great Plains.

  • Intermittent Test Administrator Professionalism Recognition Award, Kansas City Military Entrance Processing Station, 2017

  • Educational Testing Service (ETS) Recognition of Excellence Award, Praxis II Social Studies Content, 2016

  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1995

  • University of Kansas Chapter of Mortar Board, 1994

  • Gamma Theta Upsilon, International Geographical Honor Society, 1993

  • Workshop training in Google Earth Engine

  • Intermediate certification in ArcGIS 10

Caldas, M.M., J.S. Bergtold, J.M. Peterson, R.W. Graves, D. Earnhart, S. Gong, B. Lauer, and J.C. Brown, “Factors Affecting Farmers’ Willingness to Grow Alternative Biofuel Feedstocks across Kansas,” Biomass and Bioenergy 66 (2014): 223-231

Peterson, J.M., M.M. Caldas, J.S. Bergtold, J.S., B.S. Sturm, R.W. Graves, D.H. Earnhart, E.A. Hanley, and J.C. Brown, “Economic Linkages to Changing Landscapes,” Environmental Management 53 (2014): 55-66

Corn-Based Ethanol Prospects for Southeastern South Dakota Farmers amid Changing Federal EV and Biofuel Mandates.” Great Plains/Rocky Mountains Division of the American Association of Geographers Conference, South Dakota State University, October 7, 2023

The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.” Invited Presentation, Snow College (UT), October 6, 2020

Lamb Jams, Side Rolls, and Agricultural Prospects in Sanpete County, Utah.” Great Plains/Rocky Mountains Division of the American Association of Geographers Conference, University of Kansas, October 12, 2019

Stateline Cities: the Economic, Political, and Cultural Dimensions of Border Communities in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.” Association of Pacific Coast Geographers Conference, University of Nevada-Reno, October 27, 2018

The ‘Almost’ Great Plains: Examining Farmland Conservation Practices in the Kansas Flint Hills.” Emporia State University Department of Social Sciences, November 18, 2016

Exploring the North American Ethnic Mosaic.” University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources, May 11, 2016

Geographic Perspectives on the Historically All-Black Towns of Oklahoma.” Oklahoma African American Hall of Fame Grand Opening, Clearview, OK, June 6, 2015

The Conservation Reserve Program and the Changing Kansas Agricultural Landscape.” Kansas State University Department of Geography Lecture Series, November 18, 2011

Cropping Decisions, Risk Management Practices, and Willingness to Supply Biomass.” (with Dr. Jeff Peterson) Risk and Profit Conference, Kansas State University, August 19, 2011

In Retrospect: A Journey through the Historically All-Black Towns of Oklahoma.” Black Towns of Oklahoma exhibit, sponsored by Cameron University and Oklahoma Humanities Council, February 20, 2009

Landscape Risks Realized: the Aftermath of the June 11, 2008, Tornado in Chapman, Kansas.” Pioneer America Society Meeting (in conjunction with the Eastern Historical Geography Association) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, October 17, 2008