Offered by the Department of Geography and Geology
Professor Dodson (chairperson)
Assistant Professors Demchak, Kopf
Instructors Benner, Dillon, Guignard, Dom, Wilson
Geography is a broad academic discipline that integrates the physical and social sciences. It studies the nature of, and relationships between, the natural and cultural aspects of our world. Topics such as current environmental issues, cultural differences, computer cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), and planning are all studied by geographers.
Where things are located has always been of interest to geographers. The more important and interesting question is, “Why are they where they are?” Pursuing the answer leads to new insights, both academic and applied. An especially pertinent example is the increasing use of geographic information systems (GIS) to help understand our world.
Majors in geography earn a Bachelor of Science degree with optional concentrations in Environmental Science, Watershed Management, Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Mapping Technology. Thus one can tailor a program to individual needs and interests. Graduates from these programs pursue careers in government and industry, or continue their education by entering graduate school. Minors in geography, geology, watershed management, and outdoor recreation leadership are also available and can provide important knowledge and skills to students majoring in related fields.
Program Mission Statement
We are here to teach. Excellence in education is a priority for us. We pledge to provide a substantive, up-to-date curriculum for each of our programs. And we will ensure that our students graduate with practical, applied skills that supplement their more general knowledge base.
We are here to learn. Geography and geology are dynamic disciplines whose insights and techniques are continually changing. It is incumbent upon us to grow with our discipline.
We are here to serve. We serve students by providing a broad range of general education classes. We serve our majors by providing guidance and interaction in a supportive atmosphere. We serve the University by membership on committees and by advising student organizations. And we serve the community by providing input to local organizations and government agencies.
Want to become a teacher? Our department also houses the content-area portion of the Earth and Space Science program (see Earth and Space Science Education Degree in this catalog.)
The Department mission statement contains the standards to which we hold ourselves accountable. By extension, it also embodies goals which we have for our students, though at a level and in a context appropriate for them. For example: Our priority on excellence in teaching becomes for them the ability to give organized, informative, and well-illustrated presentations to peers and authority figures (fellow students and department faculty while in school, coworkers, superiors, and at public meetings when in a work environment). The directive for continual learning is essentially the same for them and us. Just as old and yellowed lecture notes will not suffice for us, our students cannot rely for long solely on the material we have taught them. The requirement for service is essentially the same for each of us as well, though ours will generally be of a more substantive nature than theirs.
In 1912 students at Mansfield University (then named Mansfield Normal School) developed a creed which has been a part of our school’s ethos ever since. The four cornerstones of the Creed (Character, Scholarship, Culture and Service) are emblazoned on an original wooden plaque now prominently displayed at the entrance to the library. The correspondence between the Creed and our department goals demonstrates that, though technology and theories may change, there are some qualities so self-evident that they stand the test of time.
We will continue to build both the long-time (Environmental Science, Earth Space Science, Geology minor) and recently-developed programs (Watershed Management and Outdoor Recreation Leadership) programs by focusing on applied skills and “real world” applications.
- Graduates will exhibit a sense of service and self-motivation as evidenced by participation in co-curricular activities, especially those involving leadership positions and volunteerism.
- Graduates will demonstrate the ability to produce and interpret maps, images, charts and other graphic data
- Graduates will demonstrate the organizational ability, technical skills and confidence necessary to devise and deliver a presentation to an audience of their peers and authority figures.
- Graduates will demonstrate the ability to write a coherent essay or report relating to their major.