Saturday, October 4, 2014

The power of Drew and Brendan and Adam: the BMB

Drew Briski, cymballic leader
As such expressions as this blog, UW-Eau Claire departmental websites, and university press releases regularly demonstrate, student success and accomplishment make us happy.  When one of our students is recognized for work well done, or gets a job for which they have prepared, or lands a funded graduate school placement, or passes any number of milestones (or overcomes obstacles) on their road to graduation, we rejoice.  We like what we do and like it when our students find value in it and build on it.
Adam Wysocki
bustin' a move

But, as hard as our students work in their majors, we are often reminded that our students also have activities, aptitudes and aspirations beyond our disciplines and that add other dimensions to their lives.  It should come as  no surprise, really, given the value and emphasis we place on a liberal education, that they pursue and develop extra- and co-curricular interests.  In fact, we enable and encourage it.

Brendan Miracle
on drums
I was reminded of this at the Blugold Marching Band (BMB) homecoming pregame concert at Carson Park Saturday afternoon, where three of our geography students Drew Briski (cymbals), Brendan Miracle (snare drum), and Adam Wysocki (trombone) and 300 musicians united in their big, band sound. Percussion and trombones were among highlighted sections.  What a blast!   How great to have musical skills and the opportunities to share them.  Jacob Walter (bass drum) is also in the BMB but was in Oregon with Ezra Zeitler and the GEOG 368 class.  This makes me wonder about the other musicians that pass through our department and whether we could have a Geography and Anthropology Band.  (Speaking of music, geographers Ben Possi ('14) and Bill Hamilton ('08 or so) each played in bands that performed at the Thursday night Sounds like Summer concerts in Phoneix Park this past season).

Anyway, thank you Adam, Brendan and Drew and all of our students who share their talents and interests with campus and community.  We look forward to learning more about them and supporting you as you work hard to balance the many important parts of your lives as students.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Department Honors in Geography and Anthropology -- Approved & Launched

Per the previous post, the Department of Geography and Anthropology is very pleased to announce that the University Honors Council has given final approval to our program for department honors.  We thank Jeff Vahlbusch, Director, University Honors and the Honors Council for their suggestions to refine our program.  With their help, our department honors is open to majors and minors.  In other words, we now have Department Honors in both Geography AND Anthropology.  As Joey Quintana, UWEC/GEOG '14, recently wrote when he learned of our department honors,

      I love the new opportunity for students through the Departmental Honors program. 
      I think it will help spark creative thinking, foster new more in-depth 
      learning process, and help great students become superb geographers.

Moreover, with the selfless effort and expertise of Beth Kranz in LTS, in consultation with our ADA Yvonne Plomedahl, our department has launched UW-Eau Claire's first eform application process for department honors.  

To apply for department honors, prospective students (see criteria below) need only go to UW-Eau Claire's eform site, click on the Start New Form tab, and find Geography and Anthropology Dept from the Select Dept pull-down menu.  The Geography Honors application form is right there.  One can start it, save it to finish at a later date, and hit the submit button when completed.  Very convenient.

The criteria for department honors, as they will appear in the University Catalog, is as follows:

The Department of Geography and Anthropology encourages and creates opportunities for all of its students to participate in research and creative learning activities with department faculty. Especially motivated and high-achieving students are invited to pursue Departmental Honors in Geography or Anthropology. The Departmental Honors enhances students’ undergraduate experience, recognizes outstanding work and achievement, and can open up exceptional educational and professional opportunities.
Must be a declared major or minor, have completed the core introductory courses (GEOG 104, 111, 178, and 200 or ANTH 161, 165, 169, and an area course), and have resident and major/minor GPAs of at least 3.50.

Application Procedures:
Student applicants should submit an electronic application for Departmental Honors in Geography or Anthropology to the Department Chair – through the applicant’s advisor – for approval as soon as interested and eligible, but no later than prior to the start of the student’s final semester before graduation.  Department faculty and staff may also identify qualified students and encourage them to apply.  The eform application should elaborate on professional activities, research interests, and aspirations; an unofficial copy of transcripts should be attached.  Final approval and recommendation for Departmental Honors will be made following satisfactory completion of of all requirements (see below). Please see the Department Chair for more information and application details.

(1) Conduct research and disseminate results:  Satisfactorily complete one substantial faculty-student research collaboration in Geography or Anthropology that results in (a) a presentation at a regional, national, or international professional conference; and (b) an oral presentation to be given to at least three members of the faculty in such forums as departmental capstone presentations, regional conferences, UW-Eau Claire’s annual Provost’s Honors Symposium or professionally comparable venues.
(2) Satisfactorily complete GEOG 401 Capstone:  Honors Section or ANTH 499, to include a thesis or substantial paper written under the supervision of a Geography or Anthropology faculty member, or publish collaborative research results (see Requirement #1) in a peer-reviewed journal.
(3) Maintain a 3.5 cumulative resident GPA and a 3.5 GPA in Geography or Anthropology courses.

NOTE: Names of Departmental Honors graduates must be forwarded to the University Honors Program Director and Registrar at least three weeks prior to commencement.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Great New Opportunities for Geography and Anthropology Students

The Department of Geography and Anthropology is very happy to announce a new set of opportunities designed to enhance the experiences of our students here at UW-Eau Claire.  With financial support from the permanently endowed Simpson Fund, we encourage geography and anthropology majors and minors to participate in a variety of high impact and professionalizing experiences.  These unique financial perquisites of being a student in our department are intended to make a variety of valuable learning and research activities more accessible and to acknowledge student accomplishments.

Students should work with their advisers and departmental mentors to take meaningful advantage of these and all programs our department and university have to offer.  Following is a breakdown of what the Simpson Fund now makes possible.

Our students may request up to a total of $1000 per year to support student-faculty collaborative research related costs and/or conference presentation travel expenses not fully met by ORSP (Office of Research and Sponsored Programs) funding – see Student Travel for the Presentation of Research Results.  Details and specifics are outlined on the application form (see below).

Learning Abroad
Students who will study abroad in a semester- or year-long international program may apply for $500 to defray the costs of this experience.  Geography and anthropology students are encouraged to also apply for other scholarships available through the Center for International Education.

The Department is happy to pay the lifetime membership fees ($40) for all qualified geography students who wish to join the GTU (Gamma Theta Upsilon, the International Geographic Honors Society).  See Dr. Weichelt with any questions about the Society and about joining.

Departmental Honors
The Department of Geography and Anthropology is in the final stages of establishing procedure for recognizing students with departmental honors.  This is different from the University Honors program.  Departmental honors provides especially motivated or inspired students a high professional goal within the discipline and a chance to be recognized for achieving it.  Generally, the requirements will be to conduct collaborative research, publically present the results, and write them up in a thesis while maintaining a 3.5 grade point average in the discipline and overall.  In addition to being recognized at graduation, students who fulfill the requirements for departmental honors will receive a $500 award from the department in the last semester before graduation.  Students are encouraged to apply for departmental honors as soon as they are interested and eligible.  An application form will be available shortly.

How to Apply
Detailed instructions and eligibility for all of these programs is explained on the APPLICATION FORM – After you log in, go to the Start New Form tab and select Geography and Anthropology Dept from the drop-down menu, and open the Simpson Fund Proposals form.  On the first page that opens up, click on Student Development.  You may save and close the form to work on it later.  If you have any questions, see your advisor.

Background on the Simpsons
Col. George Simpson Sr. was one of UW-Eau Claire’s 20 original faculty members and was a professor of geography from 1916-1951.  To learn more of the Simpsons and the bequest that allows us to offer these opportunities, click here. And here.