Joy Tivy

Professor Joy Tivy (19241995) was a physical geographer at the University of Glasgow.[1] She specialised in biogeography and has been credited for having helped raise the profile of biogeography as a distinct sub-discipline of geography. She published over 40 papers, books and reports and she was often asked to advise government agencies and other organisations.[1] She was a strong advocate of the importance of field studies for providing essential skills for geography graduates.[1] Her capacity as a teacher was as highly regarded as her research — she was known to be enthusiastic and engaging to a wide range of audiences[1] - a medal has been created by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in honour of her commitment to Geographical Education and Teaching.[2]


Joy Tivy was born in Carlow, Ireland in 1924 and she commenced studies at the University College Dublin in 1942 where she studied geography as her primary subject with botany and geology as her secondary areas. She excelled as an undergraduate most notably scoring highest in highly competitive exams in 1944, which granted her status as a Scholar.[1] She graduated with first class honours in 1946 and after a brief period of teaching at the University of Leeds she accepted a position at the University of Edinburgh where she completed her doctorate.[1] Her PhD thesis was entitled, “A study of the effect of physical factors on the vegetation of hill grazings in selected areas of southern Scotland",[1] p. 55. In 1956 she moved to the University of Glasgow where we stayed for the rest of her career (she retired in 1989).[1] She was the second female to be awarded at professorship at the University of Glasgow in 1976[3] and was head of the Department of Geography and Topographic Science.[1]

Her achievements were recognised by Fellowships of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1984[4] and the Institute of Biology, and in retirement, from the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS).[1] The RSGS has established a medal in her honour: The Joy Tivy Education Medal which is awarded annually for “In recognition of an outstanding contribution to geographical education”.[2] She was actively involved in the Scottish Field Studies Association, with 10 years as chairperson and served as the editor of Scottish Geographical Magazine for a decade.[1]


These are some of her most notable books:

She has 33 papers listed on ISI Web of Science.[5]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Haughton, Joe; Sweeney, John; Nolan, Willie; Brady, Joe (January 1996). "An Appreciation". Irish Geography. 29 (1): 55–56. doi:10.1080/00750779609478664.
  2. 1 2 RSGS. "Royal Scottish Geographical Society Medals Page". Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  3. University of Glasgow. "University of Glasgow Past and Present" (PDF). Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  4. "Biographical Index of former RSE Fellows 1783-2002" (PDF). Royal Society of Edinburgh. 2002. p. 175. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  5. Web of Science. Web of Science.
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