Alexander Coles, PhD

Geography & Environmental Studies
Alex Coles smiling in his office

Contact Information

Geography & Environmental Studies

Alexander Coles is a Full Professor of Geography and Environmental Science at Florida State University, Panama Canal Campus. He is Director of the Urban Risk Center, which focuses on urban risk policy and resiliency in the analysis of land use. Before joining the FSU Panama, he taught Geography-related seminars and courses in the Departments of Geography and Global Health in the University of South Florida (USF).

Before joining USF, Dr. Coles held the position of Research Associate Professor at the Payson Center for International Development and Technology Transfer and Visiting Associate Professor to the Roger Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. Within the frame of a cooperative agreement between Tulane and Xavier University of Louisiana, Dr. Coles headed the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) area at the Center for Environmental Programs at Xavier. During his time in New Orleans, he also served as an adjunct faculty in the Department of Geography, University of New Orleans.

As a professor, he has collaborated with universities in Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States, The Netherlands, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela and Bolivia in the fields of Evaluation Research, Survey Research Management, Fieldwork Methodology, Policy Research, Spatial Analysis, and Geographic Information Systems. For several years he has combined teaching, research, and consulting in the areas of a peasantry, rural environment, hazards, risks and disasters and GIS. Currently, he is focusing his research and teaching interests in the spatial analysis of the urban changes in Panama, with a focus on Urban Risk.

He has served as a consultant for several international development organizations, such as USAID-Land Tenure Center, World Bank, IDB, IFPRI, ISNAR, SNV, ICMH, WFP, Terra Institute and several small NGOs and Campesino-based organizations.

Dr. Coles earned his Ph.D. in Land Resources from the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993. At that same University, he received a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning in 1984. His Geography degree is from the Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica (1978).