Dr. Victor Mesev is a Harrison V. Chase Distinguished Professor of Geography and Director of the Graduate and Undergraduate Program in Geography.
1. Please tell us about yourself.
I am the current holder of the Harrison V. Chase Distinguished Professor of Geography. In 2004 I came to FSU from the University of Ulster (Northern Ireland), where I created the master’s program in geographical information science, to start the same program at Florida State. Subsequently, I served nine years as Chair of Geography, and now serve as the undergraduate program director for the Geography program, and the new STEM program in Environment & Society.
2. Tell us about your research interests and why you are passionate about this topic.
I am a broadly trained geographer with a passion for how and why the world has, and still is changing. Questions such as where and why cities grow, people move, hurricanes and tornadoes hit, deserts encroach, water is scarce, and how often forest fires burn. I use satellite sensor technology and geographic information systems (GIS) to help answer these and other issues across our ever changing planet.
3. What do you want the public to know about your research? Why is your topic important?
Geography is a dynamic and topical academic discipline. It is not only about remembering countries, capitals, and rivers. It is about understanding how and why the two key elements of geography, place and scale, define societies and cultures, explain political tension and conflict, and determine the rate of environmental degradation. Geography is critical for debating climate change and international diplomacy.
4. Who has influenced you the most in life? My high school geography teacher when he said that geography may seem a mishmash of many different things right now, but one day it will all click together. That day happened to me as a college freshman when I studied the geography of cities and all of a sudden I asked myself questions not only to do with people and buildings that made up cities, but also questions of the quality of city air, the condition of city parks, the well-being of urban animals, the speed of commuter flow, and the grandeur of architectural aesthetics. All of these things were inter-connected and were why a city functioned and changed, and why they were different for a city, say in the United States compared to one in China.
5. What is your favorite part of your job?
That my job is also my hobby. I get to observe the world using satellite sensor technology from the comfort of my office; to measure and map changes in cities and the environment across the whole world; and to discuss why these changes are happening with my peers
6. What IFS course do you teach and what is it about?
I teach two classes that overlap with my inquisitiveness. IDS2492 Sport: Place, Competition and Fairness combines my passion of geography with my curiosity of how sport mirrors the identify, patriotism and nationalism of countries and regions. IDS3336 ‘Great’ Britain? Geography, Imperialism, Industry, and Culture is homage to my country. I investigate not only Britain’s history as an industrial leader and global colonial power, but also its cultural legacy in spreading the English language, music, and sport around the world, and for its new role as a soft power on the world stage for mediating and arbitrating in international relations.
7. How do you like to spend your free time?
I play soccer, squash, chess, and travel to as many places as possible. I teach study abroad classes on sport and the Mediterranean.
8. What did we naively not ask you that we should’ve, and your answer to it?
Why I chose geography. The answer is geography chose me. From the age of six I was drawing maps of my neighborhood, and dreaming of far off places!