Geography Program Recognized for Excellence

Students on geography field trip in Canadian Rockies
Students on a geography field trip to the Canadian Rockies in 2016. (SUNY Geneseo photo/Keith Walters)

SUNY Geneseo’s Department of Geography has been awarded the 2018 Award for Bachelors Program Excellence from the American Association of Geographers (AAG). The department will be formally recognized in April at the association’s annual conference in New Orleans.

The AAG selects geography departments or programs that have “significantly enhanced the prominence and reputation of geography as a discipline and demonstrated the characteristics of a strong and engaged academic unit.” Geneseo was identified by AAG as having a geography department “where collaboration between faculty, students, and the local community delivers an exemplary learning experience for undergraduate geographers.”

The department celebrates its 50th anniversary this academic year, and Jennifer Rogalsky, associate professor and department chair, says receiving the Bachelors Program award “is especially meaningful this year as we celebrate this anniversary, at the same time we are at a high point of Geography majors. It is an honor to be recognized by our premier academic and professional association for our efforts toward growing a strong community of geographers through critical, integrative, and applied teaching and research.”

“The award is a great honor and speaks to the dedication of our faculty and students to our discipline, and to promoting geographic awareness to the broader community,” says Jim Kernan, associate professor of geography, who served as the president of the Middle States Division of the AAG last year.

Geneseo’s geography program has grown from less than thirty undergraduate majors in 2002-03, to more than 100 majors in Fall 2017. The increase, according to Rogalsky, has been generated in part by a curriculum that blends human and physical geography and offers students study abroad experiences to locations that include Canada, Argentina, and the Netherlands.

AAG’s award committee was especially impressed by the geography department’s “commitment to curricular innovation, active student organizations and alumni relations, faculty research, and disciplinary engagement both on and off campus, regionally and nationally.” Read the full award citation on AAG’s website.

The American Association of Geographers, founded in 1904, is a nonprofit scientific and educational society made up of members from nearly 100 countries. The AAG publishes several scholarly journals including, Annals of the American Geographer and The Professional Geographer.

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