Dr. Albert Hyers

Professor Emeritus, Environmental Studies

Don Hyers
(413) 662-5359
Center for Science & Innovation 225E


Ph.D., Arizona State University

M.A., Western Michigan University

B.A., Elmhurst College

Courses Taught

ERTH 151: Physical Geology

ERTH 152: Introduction to Physical Geology

ERTH 245: Natural Hazards

ERTH 270: Weather and Climate

ERTH 330: National Parks and Monuments

ERTH 360: Environmental Geology

ERTH 271: Landforms

Glacial Systems

River Systems

Global Climate Change


My courses are in the general area of earth science. The failure to appreciate earth surface processes is one reason that humans now have to deal with numerous unintended consequences, such as, for example, warming temperatures, beach erosion, life on a floodplain, and expanding deserts. In fact, natural hazards are merely a result of inadvertent or poorly conceived human interaction with ordinary earth processes.

Although MCLA has never had an earth science major, my courses have served as options in the Core Curriculum (Tier II of the Science and Technology Domain) and its predecessor program. The advent of ENVI now provides a valuable environmental context for them. My courses at the 100-200 level include introduction to physical geography, introduction to physical geology, landforms, weather and climate, and natural hazards. Common themes include the interaction of human activity and natural Earth processes and the relevant consequences of contemporary climate change. Upper level courses now include river systems, glacier systems, and climate change. The study of contemporary and past glaciation reveals, of course, the direct link between climate change and landscapes, but even the study of streams illustrates climate effects.

My courses benefit from widespread travel within the U.S. I enjoy illustrating common Earth processes and landforms with my own photographs. Also, I can use my field experiences to give a personal touch to the study of earth science.


My academic, research, and professional expertise began in the subject area of physical geography, with a focus on geomorphology (especially alpine and cold regions) and climate. I have direct experience with my course topics because of travel, for both professional reasons and pleasure. For example, I have observed the climate changing by watching certain glaciers shrink during the span of my career. Additionally, after coming to MCLA, I also developed expertise in educational measurement, especially concerning test item formats, examination reliability, and student journals. I am especially interested in the differences among groups with regard to these matters.

I have publications and presented papers in physical geography, climatology, geomorphology, and educational measurement (including, for example, exam formats, student journals, and program assessment).