Professor Roger Mark Selya is retiring after serving thirty-six years as a distinguished faculty member in the Department of Geography at the University of Cincinnati. Selya began college pursuing a performance degree in music, but decided his interests were too broad to be confined to a practice room for ten hours per day. Subsequently, he received a Bachelors degree from Boston University in history and a Masters degree from Harvard University in Regional Studies: East Asia. He continued to concentrate on this regional interest and earned a PhD from the University of Minnesota in Geography. Before joining the faculty at the University of Cincinnati, Professor Selya served at the Tel Aviv University, Bar Ilan University of Connecticut, and the University of Minnesota. He studied extensively in Taiwan and published widely on the economic and cultural geographies of Taiwan and Israel. He published six books and monographs, thirty-one articles, and presented numerous conference and symposium papers. While best known for his acclaimed work in Asia, Selya openly acknowledges the somewhat peripatetic nature of his scholarly interests that included work in demography, medical geography, the geography of religion, musical instrument manufacturing, and the geography of human rights abuses.
In addition to his scholarship, Professor Selya is highly recognized as an accomplished and respected instructor and mentor. He has supervised thirteen PhD students and twenty-five MA students and he is currently advising four PhD students and one MA student. Selya is known for his willingness to work with promising students regardless of whether their research topics matched his own areas of greatest expertise, viewing these experiences as opportunities to expand his own horizons. All of his advisees benefited greatly from his commitment and dedication to high quality scholarship.
In 1996, Professor Selya received the A.B. (Dolly) Cohen Award for Excellence in University Teaching. Students applauded his accessibility, devotion to students, commitment to student oriented teaching, enthusiasm in the classroom, and dedication to the improvement of quality teaching through strengthening the university general education program. He inspires undergraduate students to become passionate about geography, shaping what and how students think about their chosen disciplines. He has taught forty-three different courses. They ranged from large, lecture-based introductory courses, freshman seminars, honors special topics courses, upper division courses, and graduate seminars. His teaching excellence has consistently been praised by his students and colleagues. He is particularly known for his enthusiastic instruction and the breadth and depth of his knowledge. All of Professor Selya's courses were designed around three important objectives: a broad interdisciplinary structure reflecting his interests and training in geography, demography, economics, epidemiology, music, religious studies, and Asian languages; an extensive use of writing as a mechanism for learning; and preference for using the Socratic method in order to increase classroom participation and discussion.
Roger Selya's commitment to service to the University is demonstrated from the breath of his work for the department, college, and University and is too numerous to list in its entirety. However, a few highlights follow. He coordinated the development of the original UC GenEd program and he is led the conversion of the Geography curriculum to semesters. In addition, he served as Director of Undergraduate Studies three times for a total of sixteen years, Director of Graduate Studies and Department Head for the Department of Geography. He also served as Head of Judaic Studies. During his final years at UC, Selya culminated his service as the McMicken Faculty Senate President. We convey our sincere thanks for his many years of dedicated service to the University of Cincinnati and we wish him a happy retirement.