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Professor Heejun Chang
Professor Heejun Chang

Professor Heejun Chang's interest in water and climate started when he was spending time in his backyard stream as a child. Located in the foothills of the Bukhan Mountains in northeastern Seoul, Korea, the stream provided ample opportunities to experiment with various water projects. He once created a small dam to divert stream water to a pond, which caused the water level to fluctuate throughout the year. While he did not know the exact terminologies such as groundwater seepage or evapotranspiration, Professor Chang acquired a basic understanding of the water budget and erosion and sedimentation processes associated with rainfall intensity and duration.

Professor Chang's interests in water and climate eventually led to a Ph.D. degree at the Pennsylvania State University. Joined by interdisciplinary and international scholars at Penn State's Environment Institute, he worked on various projects including constructing a distributed hydrologic model and interactions of water quality and climate change in Pennsylvania and Bulgaria, while learning advanced visual spatial analysis skills.

After arriving at PSU in 2001, Professor Chang launched several research projects in the Pacific Northwest and East Asia to investigate potential changes in water supply, quality, demand, and water-related ecosystem services in the context of climate change and land use change at multiple spatial scales. The US National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Agriculture, US Geological Survey, US Army Corp of Engineers, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Korea, and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation have funded his research projects. Professor Chang has worked to facilitate trans-disciplinary water resources research, and was instrumental in the development of integrated river basin studies in North America basins as part of UNESCO’s Hydrology, Environment, Life and Policy (HELP) Program, as well as comparative Columbia and Yangtze river basin studies. His work has been cited in numerous papers and reports, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007. Professor Chang has served as the lead author of the freshwater section in the 1st Oregon Climate Assessment Report and a reviewer for more than 50 different international journals and proposals, including the US NSF and the Natural Environment Research Council of UK.

Professor Chang has worked to revise and update the Geography department curriculum by adding several courses in his areas of interest, and has developed visual learning materials for teaching spatial statistics and introductory physical geography. Professor Chang perceives that teaching, research, and service are not mutually exclusive. He incorporates his research findings into his classroom and suggests research projects to students based on topics of current interest in water resources and climate change. Professor Chang often invites guest speakers from the community in his classroom so that students obtain up-to-date information in the field. He welcomes students who would like study any aspect of water and climate.

Name: Heejun Chang
Title: Professor of Geography and Fellow of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions
office: 424I CH
phone: 503-725-3162
web address