James Vaughan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Instruction, Political Science and Geography

James Vaughan


Dr. Vaughan has taught a wide variety of classes here at UTSA, covering topics related to physical, environmental, cultural, human, and urban geography. Before coming to UTSA over 15 years ago, he taught at Texas State University in San Marcos and Trinity University here in San Antonio. Overall, Dr. Vaughan has been teaching both undergraduate and graduate level classes since 1995. Dr. Vaughan believes in ‘”applied geography” and has worked as a city planner, planning commissioner, real estate broker, land use consultant, and managed a long-term contract between Texas State and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality related to storm-water management and permitting.

He received his Ph.D. in Environmental Geography from Texas State University, his Master of Applied Geography in Land/Area Development and Management from Southwest Texas State University, and his undergraduate degree in Economics from Stanford University.

Dr. Vaughan enjoys teaching and working with students. His unique background in both the academic and professional worlds enables him to impact students by helping them obtain skills that they can apply in their lives; by encouraging them to become life-long learners and adaptable, creative professionals or academics, capable of thinking outside the box; and bringing fresh perspectives to challenges they face. Dr. Vaughan feels that all students in all his classes, whether that class is large, small, introductory, or advanced, should have a memorable and meaningful experience at UTSA.

He currently lives in New Braunfels and has two grown daughters (Kelly in Boise, Idaho and Jamie in Fort Worth) six grandchildren (Margo, Audrey, Charly, Max, Zac, and Coco), a rescue dog named Pippy, and a tabby cat named Lacy.


Classes taught at UTSA - undergraduate:

  • GES 2613 Physical Geography (both in-person and asynchronous online)
  • GES 3003 Global Sustainability
  • GES 3223 Revealing Geography through Film and Pop Culture
  • Pol. 3413 Urban Development: Politics, Planning, and Power (usually cross-listed with GES 3523 and GES 3733)
  • GES 3523 Introduction to Urban Planning (now GES 3573 Urban Planning and Development)
  • GES 3623 Geography of Natural Hazards
  • GES 3683 Sustainable Landscape Management
  • GES 3733 Urban and Regional Analysis
  • GES 3723 Physiography

Graduate classes:

  • Grg. 5013 Geographic Thought
  • Grg. 5423 Physiography
  • Grg. 5433 Environmental Landscape Management
  • Grg. 5563 Applied Sustainability

Research Interests

  • Urban planning
  • Environmental and urban sustainability
  • Land use management
  • Cities and cinema

Honors and Awards


Grants, Patents and Clinical Trials


Earl, Richard, and James Vaughan. 2015. Asymmetrical Response to Flood Hazards in South-Central Texas. Papers in Applied Geography, 1:4, 404-412, DOI: 10.1080/23754931.2015.1095792.

Day, Frederick A., and James W. Vaughan. 2010. The Evolving Landscape of the Austin-San Antonio Corridor - Personal Reflections and Research Directions. Landscapes, Identities and Development in Europe and Beyond, Eds. Zoran Roca, Paul Claval, and John Agnew; Territory, Culture and Development Research Centre, Lisbon.

Vaughan, James W. 2008. Imperiled Sustainability: A Tale of Planning and Growth in Two Texas Cities. The Southwestern Geographer. Vol. 11:153-169.

Vaughan, James W. 2007. Modern Communities: Challenging Traditional Concept of Place. Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences. Vol. 30: 226-235.