Departmental Life

The Department of Geography and Planning was established in 1935 and has a long, rich history of producing geography majors and graduate degrees. West Chester University maintains vibrant undergraduate and graduate geography and planning programs. With a department of 8 faculty members, there are approximately 50-60 undergraduate majors, 60-70 undergraduate minors, and 20-30 active graduate students. Since the department is small, students receive excellent guidance and advising. The faculty of the department are active professionally, and attend professional organization meetings regularly. Both undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to attend professional organization meetings to present their research and participate in meeting events. Several organizations assist students with conference expenses: the Paciaroni Fund, the Mewha Scholarship, the Geography and Planning Club, and the Graduate Student Association.

ESRI User Conference, San Diego 2019 where WCU won the Special Achievement Award which was presented by ESRI’s founder and President, Jack Dangermond

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Student Groups

Geography & Planning Club

"Welcome to West Chester University’s Geography and Planning Club. Our club engages in nature and the world's geography by taking field trips such as canoeing, hiking, going to different restaurants, and other types of field trips. As well as becoming connected to nature and our world, you will find that we do events inside and more educational such as attending local and international Geography and Planning conferences during the school year. Our resolution for this upcoming school year (2019-2020) is to create a haven where different personalities can come together to participate in outdoor events and to share geography and planning interests. We are always open and friendly to new members so feel free to come and check us out. We will meet in BPC117 every other Wednesday at 6:15pm. We hope to see you there! - Lexis, Emily, and Corinne

Club Officers:

  • President - Quinten Harrison
  • Vice President - Isaac Gabriel
  • Secretary and Treasurer - Riley Nolan
  • Club Advisor - Dr. Megan Heckert/Dr. Gary Coutu, Department Chair

For more information about current Geography & Planning Club meetings and events, please contact Geography & Planning Club President Quinten Harrison, Vice President Isaac Gabriel or Geography Club Advisor, Dr. Megan Heckert



Former Club President Lexis Bilsky, VP Emily Reilly, and Secretary/Treasurer Corinne Pealer 2019Geo Club Officers 2019



Upcoming Geography & Planning Club Events:

  • Regular Geography & Planning Club Meetings held every other Tuesday at 5pm in BPC117 starting September 10, 2019.

Professional Associations

There are a number of professional organizations that support and provide guidance for the disciplines of geography and planning. The national geography professional organization is the American Association of Geographers (AAG) which holds an annual conference during the spring of each year (see our home page under 'News and Upcoming Events' for this year's conference location). West Chester University department faculty have held prestigious positions in the AAG. The Biogeography Specialty Group of the AAG promotes interactions between biogeographers, stimulates active research and tests development in biogeography, and facilitates the exchange of ideas.

The Middle States Division is the regional professional organization of the AAG. The annual meetings are held in the fall of each academic year. The regional meetings are accessible to students who have both presented research papers and participated in the Geography Bowl as well as benefited from interaction with other Geography faculty and students. West Chester University's Geography faculty are past officers and presidents of the MSAAG.

There is a local chapter of the AAG, the Delaware Valley Geographical Association (DVGA), which has more than a 50-year history of bringing the discipline's leaders to speak at the fall and spring dinner meetings, and memorable field trips. Many of the AAG past presidents have spoken to the DVGA, which is a great opportunity for students to attend a professional event to meet other geography faculty and students. The spring dinner is also an awards ceremony where the top geography students of the departments in the Delaware Valley receive recognition for their achievements.

The American Planning Association (APA) provides national leadership for planning professionals and academics. The APA national conference is held in the spring. The state chapter is the Pennsylvania Planning Association (PA APA) which holds an annual conference in the fall. The local chapter, the Southeast Section Council, regularly organizes and sponsors interesting programs some of which offer professional development credits. West Chester University faculty have been elected to serve on the Southeast Section Council.

There are two additional professional organizations that provide leadership and guidance to the discipline of geography. The Pennsylvania Geographical Society (PGS) has as its mission to promote the discipline of geography in Pennsylvania and holds its annual meeting during the fall and the National Council for Geographic Education works to enhance the status and quality of geography teaching and learning.

Honors Society

Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU) is an international honor society in geography. Gamma Theta Upsilon was founded in 1928 and became a national organization in 1931. Members of GTU have met academic requirements and share a background and interest in Geography. GTU chapter activities support Geography knowledge and awareness. To find out more information about Gamma Theta Upsilon visit their website. Our local chapter, the Gamma Eta Chapter, was founded on March 28, 1963 and boasts nearly 300 members of GTU. The ceremony for initiation to Gamma Theta Upsilon Gamma Eta Chapter is held in May of every year by our Chapter Sponsor, Dr. Gary Coutu.

Study Abroad Trips

Malago, Spain 2019

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Puerto Rico 2019

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Kyrgyzstan Study Abroad 2018