Sunday, March 23, 2014

Other Geography programming changes for 2014-15

This past fall, the Department of Geography & Anthropology made numerous catalog changes to the geography curriculum, some of which will have implications for the geography major. These are part of an ongoing attempt to improve our program, our offerings and how we prepare our students -- not only geography majors, but those from other disciplines who take our courses. The implications for continuing majors will scarcely be noticeable, but there will be new requirements for students arriving at UWEC under the 2014-2015 calendar.

Perhaps the biggest change will be that, in the future, geography majors will be required to take GEOG 368, the geography field seminar -- this was already discussed in the blog post of 1 February.  But there is more.  

Comprehensive Environmental Geography majors will now be required to take at least  one upper level physcial geography course and one upper lever human-environmental geography course.  Until now, this was not a requirement, and comprehensive environmental geography majors could, curiously, slip through without maximizing their geographic benefits.  In the same way, comprehensive International Geography majors will now be required to take an upper level, non-us regional geography or anthropology course.  We think too highly of our faculty and programming to not encourage our students to intentionally plan for these courses.

We have also changed a couple of course names to properly capture refinements and shifting emphases in our curriculum and programming.  GEOG 200 (currently Geography Techniques) is to be renamed as Foundations of Geography and GEOG 280 (currently Introduction to Cartography) shall be Cartographic Design

Such change is more than superficial. GEOG 200 will now be explicitly targeted for geography majors and will be used to prepare our students with core geographic principles that we had been assuming they were picking up. No longer do we need to assume -- we will now be able to know!  Dr. Ezra Zeitler has been leading the effort to revamp the curriculum for the Foundations of Geography.

Those non-geography majors who were taking GEOG 200 less for fundamental geographic principles and ideas, and more for cartographic techniques and skills for application in their own majors, will be directed to the new GEOG 280.  We now expect to reach even more students across campus through Dr. Sean Hartnett's cartographic skills (click on the link to find examples of Sean's work).  And, with its emphasis on the broadly applicable, creative, and artistic, we shall propose that the new Cartographic Design be recognized as a General Education/Liberal Education core course.

We are excited about these changes and other upcoming changes for what they portend for student success, opportunity and possibility.  They arelittle things, but may have big consequences. Stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment