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About Us

The Department of Geography, GIS, and Sustainability prepare students for both professional careers and graduate study through effective teaching, impactful learning experiences, and by embracing diverse worldviews and experiences. Bridging the social and natural sciences, the Department provides coursework in human and physical geography, sustainability studies, and geospatial technology. Our curriculum strives to ensure that students develop intellectual skills important to the pursuit of a rewarding life and a sustainable future.

Mission Statement 

The mission of the Department of Geography, GIS, and Sustainability (DoGGS) is to provide high-quality educational opportunities for students seeking to integrate the natural, social, and spatial sciences to understand the interactions between people and their environments. Students gain valuable experiences to build their geographic and environmental literacy, including hands-on and active learning along with participation in community engagement projects, field studies, internships, study abroad opportunities, and collaborative research with faculty. Students develop spatial and environmental perspectives on contemporary issues and discover ways to create a more sustainable world, while learning essential communication and technical skills that prepare them for careers and/or advanced scholarly work. 

The goal of the Department of Geography, GIS, and Sustainability is to prepare well-educated citizens whose understanding of issues enables them to be contributing members of a rapidly changing, technologically advanced, and diverse society. To achieve this goal our students will: 

  1. Develop a variety of competencies in critical thinking, communication, problem-solving and current technology;
  2. Develop an appreciation for diversity, citizenship, artistic expression through educational, cultural, social, and recreational programs;
  3. Develop a life-long commitment to scholarship, service, and active community engagement;
  4. Acquire a solid foundation of general knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences;
  5. Acquire depth of knowledge in Field Studies, Geography, GIS, Planning, or Sustainability;
  6. Acquire the knowledge and skills that prepare them for careers and/or advanced scholarly work;
  7. Master methods of inquiry to acquire a deeper understanding of their academic specialty; and
  8. Demonstrate professional standards and practices.

Vision Statement 

We seek to boost the reputation of the department through high-impact teaching, research, community engagement, and workforce development. Our aim is to create an outstanding teaching and learning environment that engage students in the study of cultural, economic, environmental, political, spatial and social processes that produce distinctive local to global communities and patterns across the Earth.   

We seek to provide Geography students with a balanced curriculum that incorporates theory, field studies, and applied geospatial skills resulting in informed graduates with a grasp of the spatial perspective and the technologies needed for spatial analysis.  

We seek to provide Environmental & Sustainability Studies students with a dynamic approach that requires the study of multiple disciplines and perspectives to address human problems that require a sophisticated understanding of interacting systems: natural, economic, historical, aesthetic, socio-cultural, spatial, and political. We aspire to build a community of innovative and analytical thinkers and life-long learners who engage in solutions to problems with local to global impacts.  

Do you belong with the DoGGS? 

We use the DoGGS acronym because it’s fun and memorable; plus, we like dogs. What kinds of students find their academic home here? The GGS in our name brings together three related but distinct fields. Here’s a way to see how the 3 tie together:  

Geography = The Earth. DoGGS cherish the diversity of Earth’s peoples, places, and environments. They seek to understand why places are similar or different, and how global processes affect local peoples and environments. 

GIS = Geographic Information. DoGGS think of the world in terms of complex systems of interacting layers. They learn to use varied geospatial technologies to analyze the variables that affect each place. 

Sustainability = Sustainable Environments. DoGGS value the tenets of sustainable development. They seek solutions to environmental challenges that recognize the need for socially equitable and environmentally sound economic development. 

DoGGS students like to explore and engage in new experiences, both in their classes and in extracurricular activities. They are not daunted by complexity, learning to think creatively to cope with ambiguous situations to solve problems. DoGGS are dogged! Persistent and resilient, they recognize that growth can emerge from failures as well as successes. DoGGS are lifelong learners and have a desire to give back to their community. If these qualities and values appeal to you, this could be your academic home/place. You will also fit in you even if you like cats.