The Department of Geography and the Environment is a welcoming community of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff dedicated to expanding society’s knowledge about and protection of our common home.
The Department of Geography and the Environment provides a high quality, multidisciplinary educational experience in the areas of Geography, Geographic Information Systems, Environmental Science, and Environmental Studies. We investigate and study the Earth, its processes, systems, and peoples; and therefore, are committed to enhancing the richness and vibrancy of our planet in our academic, community, and personal endeavors. As a link between the social and natural sciences within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, we recognize the intrinsic value gained from our unique backgrounds and experiences.
Overarching Goal: Students respond to the uncertainties of a changing technological, social, political, and economic environment. Students will:
- Anticipate uncertainties, and solve problems presented by challenges and problems.
- Respond effectively to complex problems with confidence and reasoned judgement.
Science Goal: Students are scientifically literate, capable of applying scientific, mathematical, and computational modes of thought to the solution of complex environmental problems. Students will:
- Explain the scientific principles that govern the processes that shape the natural environment.
- Discern the scientific aspects of complex environmental problems. Information
Technology Goal: Students understand and apply information technology to acquire, manage, communicate, and defend information, solve problems, and adapt to technological change. Students will:
- Make effective use of IT and geotechnologies (i.e., remote sensing, GIS and GPS) to solve problems and make decisions.
Cultural Perspective Goal: Students draw from an appreciation of culture to understand in a global context human behavior, achievement, and ideas. Students will:
- Analyze contemporary and historical events from different cultural perspectives.
- Apply understanding of culture wherever working in the world.
- Explain diversity among people both in the US and abroad.
- View the world from the perspective of someone in another culture.
Human Behavior Goal: Students understand patterns of human behavior, particularly how individuals, organizations, and societies pursue social, political, environmental, and economic goals. Students will:
- Understand contextual effects of human behavior.
- Link human values to their exploitation or conservation of the natural landscape.
Communication Goal: Students listen, read, speak, and write effectively. Students will:
- Listen actively, read critically, and form an independent understanding of other's communications.
- Speak and write clearly, using style, vocabulary, and organization appropriate to the audience.
- Correctly employ standard conventions in written and oral communications in a scientific context.
Creativity Goal: Students think and act creatively. Students will:
- Willingly and confidently, confront uncertain situations.
- Apply innovate ideas and thinking skills to solve problems.
Moral Awareness Goal: Students recognize moral issues and apply ethical considerations in decision making. Students will:
- Identify and examine moral implications of both ordinary and unusual situations.
- Analyze specific ethical responses to moral problems, especially those common to the natural and social sciences.
- Recognize the moral issues in their research, help other people gain an understanding of the issues, identify and assess morally justifiable actions, and draw upon a sound ethical foundation in deciding how to fulfill their professional responsibilities as citizens.
Continued Intellectual Growth Goal: Students demonstrate the capability and desire to pursue progressive and continued intellectual development. Students will:
- Demonstrate fully the ability to learn on their own.
- Seek advanced study in areas of professional or personal interest and pursue subjects in depth.
The Department is committed to maintaining, fostering, and celebrating a community that includes people of all ages, genders, abilities, races, ethnic origins, religions, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, creed, and political views. We foster an atmosphere of open dialogue and incorporate innovative classroom instruction, creative laboratory and field experiences, and student-led research to ensure a high quality of learning and teaching. Our goal is to develop students and faculty who engage in and are dedicated to critical thinking, open-ended problem solving, and a lifetime of learning.
To report a climate concern, please fill out the VU Climate Concern Incident Reporting Form.
DEPARTMENT DIVERSITY RESOURCES
The Department of Geography and the Environment is committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Enhancing Diversity in Geography and the Environment (EDGE) Fellowship is designed to provide undergraduate student majors in the Department of Geography and the Environment from groups underrepresented in the disciplines of Geography, Environmental Science, and Environmental Studies with financial support to conduct research or pursue otherwise unpaid internship opportunities. Learn more.