Office of Assessment


Geography Mission Statement

The mission of the Geography Department, with major concentrations in Urban and Regional Planning, Environmental Studies, Global Studies, Geographic Information Science and Spatial Analysis and Geography with a Coordinate Major in Education is to: provide students with knowledge about the discipline of geography; teach students how to examine geographical issues and problems by framing their inquiries using the theoretical tools and methodologies of the discipline; and prepare students for a variety of professional careers in fields related to geography, environmental and urban planning, geographic information science (GIS) and education.


Geography Major Learning Objectives

  1. Students will be able to define geography and be able to describe in good detail the major subdivisions of the field of geography; explain what geographers do; and how geography relates to a variety of real-world jobs (all majors).
  2. Students will gain factual knowledge about the world and its regions focusing on both natural and cultural landscape features, and they will know some basic principles, definitions, and themes in the subject matter of geography (all majors).
  3. Students will attain increased global awareness and become more geographically-informed people.  They will attain one of the goals of a liberal arts education, which is to produce an enlightened citizenry capable of appreciating the special role of geographical factors in the political, economic, and social life of other countries.  They will be able to use geographical analysis to help explain some of the great regional issues of the present time, particularly geopolitical, economic, social, and environmental problems and issues (all majors).
  4. Students will know the history and development of urbanization in the United States and the need for urban and regional planning in the United States in recent times.  Students will be familiar with the variety of issues and problems studied by urban and regional planners and how they apply their expertise to resolve these issues and problems in modern urban America (GYP majors).
  5. Students will have an effective understand and an applied knowledge of the variables as they apply to environmental and land use planning matters and be able to effectively express their opinions both written and orally after critically analyzing an issue (GYP and GYE majors).
  6. Students will be able to apply their understanding of land use and planning principles in a manner that will allow them to elicit and formulate an effective plan.  Students will be able to effectively articulate their proposals both written and orally and be capable of advocating on behalf of their plan, as well as to negotiate with those who may oppose their plan (GYP majors).
  7. Students will have a basic knowledge of the theoretical and applied realms of geographic information science (GIS).  Within the theoretical domain of GIS, students will have knowledge of the standard principles of managing spatial data in a GIS, including geographic referencing systems, data input, analysis, and output.  After acquiring practical applications of this technology, students will be able to apply GIS to manage and solve geographic and non-geographic problems using spatial analysis (all majors).
  8. Students will acquire a comprehensive understanding of the economic landscape, at the local, regional, and worldwide scale, in terms of where goods and services are produced, exchanged, transported, and consumed, while also recognizing the sharply unequal geographical patterns observed in the indicators of economic performance and the standard of living.  Students will grasp how the rapidly globalizing market, global competition, technological innovations, the rise of knowledge-intensive activities, new manufacturing and corporate management concepts, and improving communications and transportation are drastically shifting the competitive positions of different geographic areas and their industries.  Anchored in theory and analytical techniques, students will have the ability to translate these changing dynamics into effective roles in policy analysis and practical decision-aiding planning tasks for stimulating economic development, creating jobs, promoting trade and investment, redeveloping urban and brownfield zones, and selecting optimal locations for retail and manufacturing activities (all majors).
  9. Students will gain a liberal arts education rooted in an understanding of critical global themes.  These include contemporary economic, political, cultural, and environmental issues.  The objective is to provide theoretical analyses and empirical evidence that make students aware of the complexities and realities of the world in which we live.  Critical concepts like globalization, development, interconnection, spatial inequality, and global governance are introduced, defined, explained and discussed.  Students will become more globally aware, producing a more astute global citizen, ready for contemporary opportunities, yet also aware of global constraints (all majors).
  10. Students will learn and understand the interplay of humans and the environment, and the effects of humans on the environment.  This includes not only the distributions of environmental features, conditions, and resources, but also where people live and how they use the environment.  Students will know how to apply environmental planning and analysis methods and technologies such as GIS, remote sensing, and mapping to analyze and assess environmental situations and conditions.  Students will understand and appreciate current problems, trends and significant issues in environmental affairs locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. Students will know how to integrate the physical/nature science aspects of geography with the social, cultural, economic, and political aspects to gain a better understanding of complex environmental issues and problems such as global warming, acid precipitation, depletion of the ozone layer, hazardous waste generation, treatment and disposal, wetlands and wildlife habitat destruction, and various other natural and man-made hazards.  Students will understand the purposes of and be familiar with the major environmental agencies, laws, and regulations, and how they are applied – NEPA, EPA, MEPA, FEMA, MEMA, and Army Corps of Engineers (GYE majors).