Associate Professor

Dr Morse is a social geographer who researches the production of place and everyday experience in rural contexts. She has conducted research in the following areas: working landscapes, rural migration and immobility, place and identity, Vermont’s social geography, children’s geographies, and nature-culture theory.  She teaches Global Environments and Cultures, Rural Geography, Qualitative Research Methods, Rural Nature, Place, Landscape and Environment in Vermont, and a conservation course titled Nature Cultures. Several of her courses involve service learning. Former partners in service learning include Franklin-Grand Isle Community Action, Chittenden Solid Waste District, the Vermont Land Trust, and the City of Burlington Task Force on Reparations.


Fall 2023 Syllabi:

Spring 2020 Syllabi:

Associations and Affiliations

Dr Morse is a member of the Environmental Program Faculty, the Food Systems Graduate Program faculty, and the Center for Research on Vermont, and is an affiliate member of the Gund Institute of Environment. Dr Morse is a Sustainability Fellow and a Service Learning Fellow. She is co-director of the Environmental Studies Program, as well as the Fellowship for Restoration Ecologies and Cultures, a field-based year-long program for undergraduates aimed to develop applied skills in conservation, restoration ecology, and leadership. She is engaged with the American Association of Geographers’ Rural Specialty Group, the Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, Vermont Women’s Lacrosse Officials Association, and the Journal of Rural Studies editorial board. Presently she serves as Chair of the Board for the Vermont Land Trust.

Cheryl in an outdoor setting, smiling for the camera

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Social geography, rural studies, place and identity, working landscapes, nature-culture theory, Vermont


  • Ph.D., University of British Columbia (2006)


  • 802-656-2106
Office Location:

Old Mill Rm 203

Courses Taught

GEOG 061 – ISEE:SL: Geography of Vermont

This course both introduces students to the study of place, landscape and environment in Vermont, and offers students an opportunity to "learn by doing." The class covers the physical and social geographies of Vermont in order to better understand environmental and place-based issues. We will undertake a service learning project with the Planning Commission of Greensboro, Vermont to help them develop their next town plan which seeks to balance affordability, environmental stewardship, and rural development goals.

GEOG 174 – Rural Geography

This course is an introduction to the field of Rural Geography. We will focus on the geographies of rural communities at three scales: the global, regional within the United States, and the state of Vermont. The class will consider some of the most pressing and enduring concerns in rural communities including: demographic change and migration, the effects of economic restructuring, commodification of the countryside, shifts in agricultural practices and economies, poverty, health, landscape change, resource-based economies, tourism, spatial relations, and social service depletion. All the while we will ask how such phenomena impact the lives of the people who live in rural places. Students will gain an awareness of the ways in which narratives about the rural are circulated in film, literature, commentary, and music, and how these narratives either reflect or distort the rural experience. In the final portion of the term we will examine how factors such as class, gender, race, sexual orientation, and age influence personal experiences of particular rural places, sensitive to the fact that there are many ‘rurals’ across the globe, the United States, and within Vermont communities.

GEOG 245 – People&Nature in Rural Places

This course considers how rural landscapes are produced, perceived, and lived in by different groups of people around the world. We will read theoretical and empirical works from geographical, sociological and anthropological perspectives, and review popular or everyday narratives about rurality and nature. Our goals are to better understand how people understand and live in ‘rural nature’ today and to imagine changes that could lead to healthy and sustainable futures for both humans and non-humans.