SAFE Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Derek Martin

Dr. Derek Martin, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Planning
Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund Recipient: Fall 2022

Project: "Assessing the Influence of Large Woody Debris on Geomorphic Complexity in Fluvial Systems"

Dr. Martin's Fall 2022 Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) grant allowed two graduate students to travel with him to field sites and collect data. He explained how the work benefited the students: "For this project, students engaged in field data collection techniques common to hydrology and fluvial geomorphology and are currently engaged in data analysis. While common to these subdisciplines, these techniques are not often covered in more general graduate coursework. As such, these students have had an enhanced academic experience and have acquired skills and knowledge above the typical requirements."

Martin's team will present their findings at the Southeast Division of the American Association of Geographers (SEDAAG) annual meeting at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia later this month. After receiving feedback at the meeting, the team plans to publish their research and pursue external funding.

Martin also shared how their research is contributing to the enhancement of local communities, writing, "The work done here was done in partnership with the Upper Catawba River Watershed Coordinator and is providing data in support of a stream restoration project that will greatly enhance the quality of an important community resource in Morganton, North Carolina: Canoe Creek."


About the SAFE Fund
Initially endowed by Hughlene and Bill Frank, the College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund provides resources that can be used to support undergraduate, graduate and faculty experiences. The SAFE Fund provides funding for college priorities and opportunities that arise throughout the year. These unrestricted funds support student and faculty travel, publication support for faculty and student research opportunities. Learn more at:

About the Department of Geography and Planning
The Department of Geography and Planning promotes the understanding of the spatial dimensions of human behavior within the physical and cultural systems of the earth, and the role of planning in achieving improvement in those systems. The department offers degrees in geography and in community and regional planning. Learn more at

Written by Lauren Andersen
November 14, 2023

Dr. Derek Martin
Published: Nov 14, 2023 8:00am