Joshua C. Spinler

Advanced Instructor
Geophysics, Geodesy

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Contact Information

Phone: 501-916-5764
Office: ETAS 329R


Degree Subject Year Institution
PhD Geosciences 2014 University of Arizona
MS Geosciences 2008 University of Arizona
BS Geology 2006 University of Wyoming
BS Geography 2006 University of Wyoming

Professional Biography

Dr. Spinler was born and raised in southern Minnesota where geology was limited to boulders in parks left by past glaciations and the occasional tar seep in old gravel pits. He attended the University of Wyoming, originally as a physics and astronomy major, but after taking a Physical Geology course from Dr. Carol Frost, he was hooked on earthquakes, volcanoes, and other natural disasters. Dr. Spinler graduated with B.S. degrees in both geology and geography in 2006 from the University of Wyoming. He then moved to Tucson, Arizona, to attend graduate school at the University of Arizona. Dr. Spinler obtained his M.S. degree in geosciences in 2008, followed by a Ph.D. in geosciences in the summer of 2014. His dissertation focused on observing and modeling the present-day crustal deformation field of the greater southern San Andreas fault system in southern California and northern Baja California, Mexico. Dr. Spinler used high-rate GPS data and models of crustal deformation to investigate active fault-slip rates and to characterize the strength and relaxation properties of the lithosphere following large continental strike-slip earthquakes. He worked for one year (2014-2015) as a post-doctoral researcher in the Tectonic Geodesy Laboratory at the University of Arizona before being hired as an instructor at UA Little Rock in the summer of 2015.

When possible, Dr. Spinler continues to work on interesting tectonic problems in southern California with colleagues from the University of Arizona (Dr. Richard Bennett and students) and California State University – San Bernardino (Dr. Sally McGill). The most recent results from this on-going project were published in early 2021 in the journal Geosphere ( Dr. Spinler is an active member in the Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.

Teaching Interests

In his current role as an instructor, Dr. Spinler’s primary focus is on teaching. He teaches multiple courses each semester in multiple modalities (face-to-face, online, hybrid, webcast), focusing primarily on introductory-level core science courses. He routinely teaches courses in Physical Geology (ERSC 1302), Earth and the Environment (ERSC 1304), and Historical Geology (ERSC 2303), as well as the lab courses associated with each of those (ERSC 1102, ERSC 1104, and ERSC 2103, respectively). He also regularly teaches upper-level courses such as Field Geology I (ERSC 3320), Field Geology II (ERSC 4320), Geophysics (ERSC 4399), and Structural Geology (ERSC 3430). Dr. Spinler has also coordinated student trips to national meetings and multiple week-long Spring Break field trips to National Parks in the western U.S. He also has a strong personal interest in how science is portrayed in movies, and looks forward to the next time he can offer Earth Science In Movies (ERSC 4399 – an upper level geology elective) again!