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Dr. Gehendra Kharel

gehendra kharel
Assistant Professor Direct: 817.257.5318
B.Sc. University of Nebraska at Omaha, 2007 Environmental Studies MCRP University of Texas at Arlington, 2010 City and Regional Planning Ph.D. University of North Dakota, 2015 Earth System Science and Policy


My research seeks to broaden the understanding of coupled human-natural systems and management options in a context of water resources, social and climatic change. My approach is to apply process-based models grounded in scientific concepts, social survey instruments, and geospatial methodologies to determine the trajectory of critical values within a human-natural system. I’ve found that this process lends itself to developing engaging and meaningful research experiences for students. I strive to meet these goals by building strong collaborations with other researchers, managers and stakeholders, securing research funding, disseminating research findings in peer-reviewed journals and conference presentations, and doing research that supports my teaching and is amenable to student involvement.

As a researcher in the U.S. National Science Foundation project “Adapting socio-ecological systems to increased climate variability” at Oklahoma State University, I modeled a semiarid watershed as a coupled social-ecological system using an integrated modeling platform (ENVISION) and simulated the impact of different climate scenarios and policy intervention on ecosystem services and resilience (Kharel et al., 2018a). I designed and executed a research project that resulted in the first ever integrated study of climate, land use, hydrology and transboundary environmental policy on a multi-decade multi-billion-dollar flooding of Devils Lake in North Dakota (Kharel and Kirilenko, 2015; Kharel et al. 2016, 2018b). To evaluate the social nature of this international problem of Devils Lake flooding, I proposed a novel approach– ‘green paradiplomacy’– to manage the transboundary flood management issues along the US-Canada border (Kharel et al. 2018c). I contributed in the development of a ‘Suitability Analysis Model’ to integrate environmental impacts of urban development in Austin, Texas. I have been proactive in collaborating with other researchers for grant proposal preparation and submission with nine grant proposals submitted as a Co-PI to the state and federal agencies since 2016.

My research expertise and interests include:

Hydrology, Hydrological modeling, Climate and land-use change impacts, Coupled human-natural systems

You may visit my research profiles in Google Scholar and ResearchGate and feel free to contact me for collaborative work, student research opportunities and outreach activities.

In my teaching I strive to foster active, collaborative and multidisciplinary educational environments to encourage and develop productive, thoughtful, and accomplished global citizens and leaders. I practice ‘Bloom’s taxonomy’ and ‘active learning’ in my teaching to help students acquire both the theoretical knowledge and the quantitative and technical skills that are essential in successful academic and career pursuits. The emerging 21st century socio-environmental issues require a multidisciplinary approach, and in my teaching, I use local and global scale case studies that encourage group discussions and the application of geospatial tools and technology such as GIS, GPS, and Remote Sensing and modeling to investigate complex problems and derive different solutions.

I see students as a diverse and dynamic group with many forms of wisdom rendered from their cultural, ethnic, linguistic, racial, religious, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, and geographic backgrounds. Therefore, their perspectives should be encouraged, respected, and valued. I believe that cultural inclusiveness in classrooms builds a vivacious learning environment and intellectual rigor through challenging conversations that incorporate different perspectives, respect differences, and help to eliminate barriers. As a responsible teacher, I ensure that diverse opinions are respected, minority opinions are protected, and disagreements are kept logical and unheated. My intercultural life experience in the US and Nepal has enriched me personally and professionally, and contribute to my teaching, research and service.

I firmly believe that integrating research into teaching takes the learning environment to the next level. Involving students in research activities promotes active participation, critical thinking, adaptive learning and inclusiveness. It enables students to connect theory into practice, learn the research process and interpretation skills, and prepares them for professional life all while benefiting faculty researchers, university and society as a whole. I believe that my teaching aids in the goal of students to learn and master the concept and skills needed for the sustainable management of environmental and water resources in the US and elsewhere.

I have taught the following courses and will develop new courses in the future.

  • Physical Hydrology
  • Watershed Hydrology & Water Quality
  • Geospatial Technologies for Natural Resource Management