Rick Sambrook

A photo of Rick Sambrook


Geography & Geology


[email protected]


  • Ph.D., Geography, Michigan State University, 1992
  • MA, Geography, Michigan State University, 1980
  • BA, Anthropology, Michigan State University, 1974

Interests and Expertise

My research activities related to community outreach can be traced to dissertation research in a mountainous region of the Dominican Republic conducted as a visiting Fulbright lecturer. A component of the research involved a detailed farm level survey of both conservation and forest conversion practices. Recommendations and results of the research were reported back to survey participants by faculty associated with the Center for Urban and Regional Studies of the Catholic University located in Santiago, Dominican Republic. During my tenure at Eastern Kentucky University, in Richmond, I worked with the director of the Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurial Training (CEDET) on the conceptualization and development of the Kentucky Heritage Trails Project (KAHT), which received three years funding by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The innovative artisan trails project engaged local artisan gild communities to participate in both the development of thematic tourism driving loops on back roads and scenic byways, and in the development of "virtual" tours by participating in both audio and video taping sessions that were ultimately crafted into high quality video displays placed within computer kiosks located at local visitors centers. The highly successful KAHT project received a Governor's Award from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Finally, as a result of service as a member of the Madison County Historical Society, I wrote a research article on the creation of the Battle of Richmond Civil War County Park, as well as the staging of the annual BOR re-enactment. An objective of writing the article was to convince members of the local community of the utility of geographic information systems as a tool for the management of cultural and historic resources associated with the newly protected Civil War Battlefield Park. The article, published in the American Geographical Society's Focus on Geography journal was well received by the Historical Society and citizens of Madison County, Kentucky.

Since relocating to Eastern Michigan University as department head, my research interests have focused on geo-tourism as a sustainable strategy for regional economic development in Michigan. I also am interested in investigating the colonial private land claims that contributed to shaping the cultural landscape of Ypsilanti. Finally, my research related to tourism development in the Galapagos islands of Ecuador continues.

Thoughts on Geography

My father gave me a globe and a subscription to National Geographic Magazine in 1965, which introduced me to the fascinating world of geographic study. I subsequently learned Spanish and participated in an overseas study program to Mexico while in high school. Learning Spanish gave me opportunities for research, teaching, and travel that I could not have had otherwise. As the director of the Kentucky Institute for International Study's Summer Ecuador Program, I enjoyed and valued providing opportunities for students to experience the world beyond our shores. My undergraduate degree at Michigan State University was in Anthropology, where I focused on historical archaeology. My interest in the role that historic maps play in archaeological research led to my first class in cartography and eventually to my first research publication. My interest in historic maps has continued throughout my career as a geographer. As a Latin-Americanist geographer, I can attest that the area studies of regional tradition in geography has greatly enriched my life. I received my master's (1980) and Ph.D. degree in Geography from Michigan State University in 1992.