Dr. Eugene Palka is a specialist in the field of Military Geography, a sub-field used by academics and politicians to understand the relationships between humans and their terrain through a military lens. Dr. Palka is a 1978 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He later earned an M.A. from Ohio University and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served in the U.S. Army for more than 33 years as a commissioned officer. Prior to arriving at EKU, he spent the last 13 years of his military career at West Point, serving in successive positions as the Director of the Geography Program, Professor and Deputy Head of the Department of Geography & Environmental Engineering, and Professor and Chair of the Department. During his tenure at West Point, he also deployed to both Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2009.
Dr. Palka currently serves as the Vice President for Student Success at EKU. An accomplished professor, researcher, and author, he has served as a research colleague and distinguished lecturer for the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C., and for the National GeoSpatial Intelligence Agency in St. Louis. He was also a research fellow with the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California. He has generated more than 75 publications, including multiple books, monographs, book chapters, instructor's manuals, and articles on various topics in cultural, historical, environmental, and military geography. He has presented numerous papers at professional conferences and delivered more than 65 invited lectures.
His Army career included tours of duty with the 101st Airborne Division, the 6th Infantry Division, the 46th Infantry and 16th Cavalry Regiments, the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan, and the 25th Infantry Division in Iraq.