George Van Otten


Until 2009, I worked for the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and prior to that, taught geography at Northern Arizona University. I was also a member of the U.S. Air Force (1967-1983; five years active duty) and served as a C-130 pilot from 1968-1972. After completing a Ph.D. at Oregon State University, I joined the geography faculty at Northern Arizona University and in 1983 switched from the Air Force to Army Reserves, initially as an ordnance officer. In 1988, I transferred from ordnance to intelligence and served in that role until I retired from the military in 1996. During the several decades I spent at Northern Arizona University, I worked closely with the Indian Nations of Arizona on rural development, educational programs, and land-use planning. I am a member of the Association of American Geographers, and also hold the rank of professor emeritus at Northern Arizona University. I retired from Civil Service in 2006, but continued working on course development as a contractor until December of 2009. I am now fully retired (except for part-time teaching). I have been married to my wife (Ruth) for more than thirty years. We have five children and nine grandchildren. Our home is situated on a few acres at the base of the Huachuca Mountains in rural Cochise County, Arizona. I enjoy working on antique cars, hiking, fishing, and gardening. Since retirement however, most of my time has been dedicated to my wife, our children, and our grandchildren.

Course Spotlight

From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming (METEO 469) - learn about the fundamentals of climate change and its impact on societal, environmental, and economic policies. Visit the course.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Richard Alley

Dr. Richard Alley has been with us since the beginning, with one of our first OPEN courses - Geology of the National Parks. See what he has to say about the OPEN.ED effort over ten years later.