Michelle Ritchie, PhD

Assistant Professor
Undergraduate Program Coordinator

Professional Website

Dr. Michelle Ritchie is an assistant professor at the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Institute for Disaster Management. She received her dual-title PhD in Geography and Climate Science from Penn State. She also has an MA in Geography specializing in natural resource management from Binghamton University. Dr. Ritchie attended Connecticut State University for her undergrad.

At IDM, Dr. Ritchie coordinates the undergraduate program, with an emphasis on the minor. She teaches a multitude of undergraduate and graduate courses, including but not limited to, FYOS 1001: A Field Guide to Resilience, DMAN 3750: How to Survive the Apocalypse, and DMAN 7450: Disasters and GIS. She also runs the Ritchie Research Lab where she mentors students through research projects, establishing funding, presenting at conferences, and attending workshops.

Dr. Ritchie’s dissertation research modeled the social-ecological processes that supported the implementation of adaptation action within Arctic households in response to rapid environmental change. This research model included processes of sense of place, risk perception, and the valuation of ecosystem services and built on her prior research published in Applied Geography, which reviewed the early indicators of climate change impacts in the Arctic.

Her current projects include:

Dr. Ritchie was awarded the 2023 Special Collections Libraries Teaching Fellowship, as well as the 2023 First Year Odyssey Seminar Teaching Award. She holds numerous certifications, including (1) Part 107 Unmanned Aircraft Remote Pilot Certification, (2) Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE), (3) Stop the Bleed, (4)  FEMA IS-100.b, IS-317.a, and IS-700.b (5) CPR and AED Certification (6) Basic First Aid, and (7) Wildland Search and Rescue.

In her free time, Michelle enjoys spending time with her dog, Dottie, and her cat, Clarence, as well as with family and friends. She can often be found gardening, reading, listening to music, or playing pool.