Friday, January 22, 2016

UW-Eau Claire Geographer 2016 Regent Scholar

Dr. Joe Hupy with teaching his field methods class
The Department of Geography and Anthropology is excited to learn that our colleague Dr. Joe Hupy has just been selected as one of three 2016 UW System Regent Scholars.  The Scholarship is intended to encourage and reward cutting-edge undergraduate research and collaboration that has the potential to spur regional economic development and entrepreneurial possibilities.  The scholarship comes with summer funding to support research and scholarly activities while stimulating innovation and industry outreach.  

Specifically, Dr. Hupy's research involves using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for economic and environmental applications in the mining, and has the potential for much wider geospatial applications in construction, insurance, real estate, and beyond.  For more details on Dr. Hupy and his work related to the grant, see the UW-Eau Claire news article.  To learn about how to geographically apply UAS, you may want to take his class!

Relationship with Aberdeen Geography Continues to Grow

Two years ago, our department embarked on a department to department relationship with the Geography and Environment Department at the University of Aberdeen.  In summer of 2014, I visited to Aberdeen to initiate this unique and mutually beneficial relationship.  

St Mary's Hall - Home of Geography at University of Aberdeen
In Spring 2015, Piotr Niewiadomski, a human geographer at Aberdeen, visited our campus to give a couple of lectures and get to know UW-Eau Claire and our department, faculty, students, and programs. We explored ways of growing the relationship, making student exchanges more accessible and, maximizing the mutual benefits to our students and programs.  As examples, Aberdeen is interested in having their students participate in our geospatial certificate program and we are interested in exploring the feasibility of taking a GEOG 368 to Scotland.  This year, we have two students from Aberdeen in Eau Claire and four of our geography students at Aberdeen -- a record number of exchanges between our departments!

We are excited at how this program is growing and what it may mean for our programming and the learning opportunities for us and our students.  We are very happy to know that Aberdeen is equally excited in the possibilities.  See the article they just posted on their departmental website.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Overdue for an update . . .

Oh my goodness, it has been more than a year since posting to the blog.  That is not good.  It is as if nothing of consequence to UW-Eau Claire Geography has occurred since October 2014.  That is hardly the case.  

In October 2015, the department hosted another regional conference of the West Lakes Division Association of American Geographers (WLAAG).  See geography major Andee Erickson's nice article reporting on this event. Last April, we also co-hosted a mini-conference on the “geospatial confluence” of GIS, remote sensing, and photogrammetric professionals with the Western Great Lakes Region of the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (easier to say WGL-ASPRS) on campus. Also in the spring, we hosted a colleague from our sister geography department at the University of Aberdeen as well as a geographer from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, with whom we are also building a relationship.

This past year, two graduates of our department, who are now in PhD programs, returned to give featured talks. Jenna Christian, in the Geography program at Penn State, gave a campus-wide talk on "Feminist political geography and the intimately global dimensions of war and peace" in May 2015. She was also the invited speaker at our spring awards banquet as part of the same visit to Eau Claire. To learn more through Jenna's experiences, see her thoughtful posting of a few years ago on the UW-Eau Claire Geography Alumni blog and about what she is currently doing as part of her PhD fieldwork on her Everyday Geopolitics Houston blog.

Meghan Kelly at AAG Tampa Bay, 2014
Meghan Kelly, who graduated in 2012, received her masters degree at the University of Kansas and recently started in the PhD geography program at UW-Madison, with specific interests in cartography and geopolitics. She was our featured speaker for Geography Week this past November.  Her talk was on "From Shapefiles to Narratives: Mapping Syria's borders and border stories."  Meghan shared on the UW-Eau Claire Geography Internship blog a couple of years ago. And be sure to visit her web portfolio. We look forward to learning with Meghan as she progresses through her program at Madison.  

There are also changes taking place in department personnel and programming. We now have 130 geography majors, a three decades high! Dr. Ryan Weichelt was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor this year, Dr. Bob Barth (Anthropology) is winding down his decades-long career in preparation for retirement, . New courses have been added to the course curriculum, the Geospatial Analysis and Technology comprehensive major will be offered starting in fall 2016, and the international comprehensive major is being rejuvenated as a transnational major.  

I will try to catch up on these and many other developments and things of interest to our community, but for now we are at the end of the semester and are preparing for final exams and grading.  More soon.

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.