Eric Riggs

Eric Riggs


Teaching, learning and cognition in the geosciences

  (979) 845-6529

  Halbouty 309


Research Focus

The Riggs Group studies many related aspects of teaching, learning and cognition in the geosciences.  Our primary research is in understanding how people learn, visualize and solve geologic problems in complex geological settings, including petroleum and sedimentary systems, structural geology, and geoscience education in international or cross-cultural learning situations.  Inquiries for graduate studies in this interdisciplinary area are always welcome.

Current and Recent Grants

Collaborative Research: How Science Fieldwork Experiences Impact Undergraduate Students' STEM Academic and Career Decisions: TAMU PI: Eric Riggs, Julie Sexton (CU Boulder), Krystal Hinerman (Lamar Univ.), National Science Foundation, HRD Education Core Research, HRD 1760981, 1761190, 1761174 

Development of Expertise in Seismic Interpretation in Petroleum and Scientific Exploration, Eric Riggs, Proposer, with Triad members Robert Reece, Khalil Dirani (TAMU CEHD), TAMU VPR Triads for Transformation (T3), project #432 

GSE/RES Collaborative Research: Recruitment and Retention of Women in Geosciences: An Investigation of Individual and Environmental Factors, PI: Julie Sexton, Co-PIs: Kevin Pugh, Eric Riggs, National Science Foundation, Research on Gender in Science and Engineering, NSF-HRD 1136238

Collaborative Research: Diversity and Innovation for Geosciences in Texas (DIG TEXAS) - an Alliance for Earth Science Literacy, PI: Kathy Ellins, Co-PIs: Eric Riggs, Laura Serpa, Deana Pennington,  National Science Foundation, Geoscience Education, NSF-OCE 1202745

Selected Publications

Van Boening, A. and E.M. Riggs, Geologic Gestures: A New Classification for Embodied Cognition in Geology, 2019, Journal of Geoscience Education, DOI:10.1080/10899995.2019.1624250

Ricci, J. and E.M. Riggs, Making a Connection to Field Geoscience for Native American Youth through Culture, Nature and Community, 2019, Journal of Geoscience Education, special theme issues on Diversity in the Geosciences, DOI:10.1080/10899995.2019.1616273

Pugh, K.P., Phillips, M. Sexton, J.M., Bergstrom, C. and Riggs. E.M., 2019, A quantitative investigation of geoscience department factors associated with the recruitment and retention of female students, Journal of Geoscience Education, DOI:10.1080/10899995.2019.1582924

Sexton, J.M., Pugh, K.P., Bergstrom, C. and Riggs. E.M, 2018, Reasons Undergraduate Students Majored in Geoscience across Six Universities: The Importance of Gender and Department, Journal of Geoscience Education, DOI:10.1080/10899995.2018.1507546

Riggs, Eric M.; Callahan, Caitlin; and Brey, Jim, 2018, "Research on Access and Success of Under-Represented Groups in the Geosciences". In St. John, K (Ed.) (2018). Community Framework for Geoscience Education Research. National Association of Geoscience Teachers. DOI: 10.25885/ger_framework/6

Wolfe, B.A. and Riggs, E.M., 2017, Macrosystem analysis of programs and strategies to increase underrepresented populations in the geosciences, Journal of Geoscience Education special theme issue "Synthesizing Results and Defining Future Directions of Geoscience Education Research", November 2017, Vol. 65, No. 4, ppg. 577-593, DOI: 10.5408/17-256.1

Kristen St. John, Eric Riggs, and Dave Mogk (2016) Sexual Harassment in the Sciences: A Call to Geoscience Faculty and Researchers to Respond. Journal of Geoscience Education: November 2016, Vol. 64, No. 4, pp. 255-257. DOI: 10.5408/1089-9995-64.4.255

Balliet, R.N., Riggs, E.M., and Maltese A.V., 2015, Students’ Problem Solving Approaches for Initiating and Developing Geologic Models in the Field, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, special issue on Disciplinary-Based Post Secondary-Education Research 52(8), DOI: 10.1002/tea.21236

Herrera, J.S. and Riggs, E.M., 2013, Relating Gestures and Speech: An Analysis of Students’ Conceptions About Geological Sedimentary Processes, International Journal Science Education, DOI:10.1080/09500693.2013.775609

Maltese, A.V, R.N. Balliet, and E.M. Riggs, 2013, Through their eyes: Tracking the eye gaze of students in a geology field course, Journal of Geoscience Education 61(1), 81–88, DOI: 10.5408/11-263.

Unsworth, S.J., E.M. Riggs and M. Chavez, 2012, Creating pathways toward geoscience education for Native American youth: The importance of cultural relevance and identity, Journal of Geoscience Education, V60, N4, November, pg. 384

Quardokus, K., S. Lasher-Trapp,  and E.M. Riggs, 2012, A Successful Introduction of Authentic Research Early in an Undergraduate Atmospheric Science Program, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, V93, N11, November, pg. 1641, DOI:10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00061.1

Alles, M. and Riggs, E.M., 2011, Developing A Process Model for Visual Penetrative Ability, in Feig, A. and Stokes, A., eds. Qualitative Inquiry in Geoscience Education Research: Geological Society of America Special Paper 474, p. 63-80

Riggs, E.M., R.N. Balliet, Lieder, C.L, 2009, Effectiveness in Problem Solving During Geologic Field Examinations: Insights from Analysis of GPS Tracks at Variable Time Scales, invited paper: in Whitmeyer, S.J., Mogk, D.W., and Pyle, E.J., eds, Field Geology Education: Historical Perspectives and Modern Approaches: Geological Society of America Special Paper 461, p. 323-340

Riggs, E.M., C.C. Lieder, and R.N. Balliet, 2009, Geologic Problem Solving in the Field: Analysis of Field Navigation and Mapping by Advanced Undergraduates, Journal of Geoscience Education,  V57, N1 (January)

Tretinjak, C.A. and Riggs, E.M., 2008, Enhancement of Geology Content Knowledge Through Field-Based Instruction for Pre-Service Elementary Teachers, Journal of Geoscience Education, V56, N5 (December) Special Edition on Preparing Future Teachers of Geoscience

Riggs, E.M., Robbins, E.I., and Darner, R,  2007,  Sharing the Land: Attracting Native American Students to the Geosciences – Special Edition on Broadening Participation in the Earth Sciences, Journal of Geoscience Education, V.55, N. 6,  478-485

Riggs, E.M., and Alexander, C.J., 2007, Broadening Participation in the Earth Sciences (editorial) – Special Edition on Broadening Participation in the Earth Sciences, Journal of Geoscience Education, V.55, N. 6,  445-446

Riggs, E.M., 2005, “Field-Based Education and Indigenous Knowledge: Essential Components of Geoscience Education for Native American Communities”, Science Education, V89, 296–313

Riggs, E.M. and H.W. Green, II, 2005, “A New Class of Microstructures Which Lead to Transformation-Induced Faulting in Magnesium Germanate”, Journal of Geophysical Research, 110, B03202-B03217

Riggs, E.M, and Kimbrough, D.K., 2002, “Implementation of Constructivist Pedagogy in a Geoscience Course Designed for Pre-Service K-8 teachers:  Progress, Pitfalls, and Lessons Learned”, Journal of Geoscience Education, invited article in the special issue on Geoscience Education Research, V50, N1, 49-55

Riggs, E.M., 1998, "Toward an Understanding of the Roles of Scientific, Traditional, and Spiritual Knowledge in our "Demon-Haunted World", American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 22:213-226


Pomona College 1989 - B.A. English Literature

Pasadena City College 1991-1992 - Geology

Indiana University 1995 - Advanced field geology – G429

University of California at Riverside 2000 - Ph.D. Geological Sciences


Fellow, Geological Society of America

Purdue University, Excellence in Research “Seeds for Success” Award, November 2012

Purdue University, College of Science Leadership Award, 2010-2011

Bighorn Basin Field Award – Geologic Society of America and ExxonMobil 5/2009

Outstanding Faculty and Staff Award – SDSU Mortar Board, 2002

Additional Information

2019 – Present

Editor in Chief, Journal of Geoscience Education

2013 – 2016

American Geosciences Institute (AGI)

President-Elect – President (2014/15) - Past President

2007 – 2011              

American Geological Institute Government Affairs & Policy Committee 

2005 – 2009              

National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT)

2nd & 1st Vice President - President (2007-2008) - Past-President

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