Geography Professor Honored

Dan Bedford Named WSU Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor

Geography professor Daniel Bedford has been named a 2018 Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor. A part of the Weber State University community since 2002, Bedford teaches physical geography and climate science, and is the director of WSU’s Honors Program.

An expert in climate change, Bedford became interested in the physical science of climate change when he was a student at Oxford University in the 1980s. In recent years, his focus has shifted to climate information teaching and sharing, and studying why, given the evidence regarding climate change, many are still reluctant to take action.

“It occurred to me that we’re now at the point where it’s more of a social science problem than a physical science problem,” Bedford said. “It made sense to me to try and link up the fact that I’m at a teaching institution with the idea that it’s about passing on information and effectively communicating what we now know. I believe that facts do matter; it’s a question of how they’re imparted.”

Bedford has given numerous talks to students and members of the community, and tries to draw in those who wouldn’t normally be interested in climate change. He participated in a collaborative Massive Open Online Course that hosted 23,000 students from 165 countries. In collaboration with the Sustainability Practices and Research Center, he organized a 2017 workshop on teaching climate science for more than 30 teachers. He also was awarded an iUtah grant, in which he led a National Science Foundation-funded effort focused on a sustainable water future for the state.

In addition, Bedford has been the author of many publications, including the book Climate Change: Examining the Facts, which he co-authored with John Cook.

The Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor honor was established in 2006 as a way to recognize WSU faculty members who have displayed an incredible dedication to teaching, scholarship and research. 

According to Eric Ewert, chair of the geography department, Bedford has managed to successfully combine all three of these areas by integrating his prolific research on climate change into his teaching, both in the classroom and in the community.

“We have a benchmark standard for great work at Weber State,” Ewert said. “Teaching is part of it, service is part of it, and scholarship is part of it. Dr. Bedford excels in all three areas, and what he’s done so admirably is blend them all.  It really embodies what we ought to be doing as university professors and departments — doing good, solid scholarship, bringing it into the classroom and then expanding it to our colleagues, our campus and our entire community.”

Bedford said the title is humbling.

“I know some of the people who have received this award in the past and hold them in the highest regard as colleagues,” he said. “So to be admitted to those ranks is a really big deal.”

A generous gift from Rodney and Carolyn “Mitzi” Brady made funding for this recognition possible. The late Rodney Brady served as WSU president from 1978-85.