Geography & Planning

Department Faculty

The faculty of the Department of Geography and Planning has active teaching, research, and professional agendas.

Professors: Welch, Lewandowski, Ives Dewey

Associate Professors: Coutu, Fritschle, Katirai, Crossney

Assistant Professor: Fasic (retired), Heckert

Dr. Gary Coutu joined West Chester University in August of 2005. He received his Ph.D. in Geography from Texas A&M University in 2001. He brings wide-ranging and extensive experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to West Chester University. Dr. Coutu ran the GIS program and computer laboratory at Temple College in Texas for four years. He also served as a Project Scientist/Senior Systems Analyst at the Blackland Research Center for a number of watershed delineation and hydrological modeling GIS projects. (more)

Dr. Kristen B. Crossney has a 2006 Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Policy Development from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Urban Studies from Temple University, and a Bachelor of Science in Geography and Environmental Systems from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Dr. Crossney’s research encompasses many facets of housing and in particular, spatial patterns of predatory lending and the populations that are most at risk. (more)

Professor George Fasic (retired) received his Master's degree in Planning from Columbia University. Professor Fasic is the former Director of the Chester County Planning Commission with over 30 years of experience in the field of planning. George teaches introductory planning as well as planning design, planning law, and land development control among others. (more)

Dr. Joy A. Fritschle, Sustainability Coordinator, has a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2007), a Master of Science degree in Geography from the University of Memphis, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from Humboldt State University in California. Dr. Fritschle’s fields of interest include biogeography, historical ecology, ecological restoration, and environmental conservation. Her research projects involve reconstructing historical landscapes using archival evidence and GIS analysis, ecological restoration of forests and woodlands, carbon and cost-benefit assessments of urban forests, and sustainable development through agriculture and forestry. She teaches courses in environmental geography, mapping, and field methods. (more)

Dr. Megan L. Heckert is thrilled to be joining the Department of Geography and Planning as an assistant professor.  An urban geographer, she focuses on the use of geographic information systems and spatial analysis to explore urban social issues.  She is interested in urban sustainability and neighborhood revitalization, with a particular focus on how sustainability initiatives contribute to urban revitalization efforts.  In addition to her academic work, Megan has served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, worked for a national environmental nonprofit helping K-12 teachers to facilitate community-based service learning projects, and has worked as business development manager and GIS analyst for Azavea, a geospatial software development company.  She holds a bachelor of science in Aquatic Biology from Brown University and a master of arts in Geography and doctorate in Urban Studies from Temple University. (more)

Dr. Dottie Ives Dewey, AICP, who received her Ph.D. in Planning from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997, also joined the faculty full time in the fall of 2005.  She has over 10 years of experience as a professional planner in the southeast region of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Ives Dewey has extensive experience with Municipal Planning, Community and Fiscal Impact Studies, and Land Development Planning.  Dottie served as Interim Associate Dean of the College of Business and Public Affairs, and is currently Chair of the Geography and Planning Department. She is active in local, state and national professional planning organizations. (more)

Dr. Matin Katirai’s doctoral studies specialized in urban planning and development and his dissertation examines urban sprawl, equity, and emergency response across the United States. He has also earned a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) application specialist’s certificate. Dr. Katirai’s teaching interests include GIS; land-use planning; economic, medical, urban, and transportation geography; disaster preparedness and emergency response; environmental and hazard-mitigation planning and policy; and statistics and research methods. Dr. Katirai’s publication credits include co-authoring Malaria Early Warning Systems: Risk Assessment and Vulnerability Mapping for Nigeria for the National Space Research and Development Agency, Abuja, Nigeria. (more)

Dr. James Lewandowski joined the department in 1991 as a graduate of Ohio State University's geography program. Jake (as he prefers to be called) is well-published and his research focuses on industrial location change. Jake teaches quantitative methods, business GIS and world geography. Dr. Lewandowski frequently provides GIS and spatial analysis skills to the Center For Social Research. (more)

Dr. Joan M. Welch completed her Ph.D. at Boston University and started at West Chester University in the fall of 1990. Dr. Welch has published research on the spatial patterns of urban forest characteristics in Boston, impacts of deer (Odocoileus virginianus) browse on regional forests, and landscape homogenization in the Pre-Pyrenees of Catalunya. Joan teaches physical and world geography, senior seminar and senior project. (more)