Location analytics business


June 15, 2023

The College of Business and Public Management is proud to be featured by Esri in one of its user stories. Read about how the College of Business and Public Management is helping students get ahead and meet workforce needs by using location analytics in undergraduate and graduate programs. Link to the story:

student awards


April 28, 2023
The College of Business and Public Management hosted its annual Outstanding Student Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 27, 2023, recognizing a total of 29 students from its programs for their outstanding accomplishments. The event honored 20 undergraduate students, including students from WCU’s Philadelphia and DCCC Campus programs, and nine graduate students. 
The Outstanding Student Award is presented to both undergraduate and graduate students in each College of Business and Public Management program. Each department or program nominates and selects their award winner(s) based on criteria individual to that department.
Congratulations to the following students who were recognized by the Department of Geography and Planning:
Outstanding Undergraduate Students 
Department of Geography & Planning
Alexis Acey
Riley Nolan
Quinten Harrison
Kelsey Arrington-Podraza
Outstanding Graduate Students
Master of Science in Geography
Elpidio Guzman De La Cruz
Master of Urban & Regional Planning
Don Edmonds

Kim faculty photo


December 8, 2022

Dr. Jongwoong Kim, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, is a recipient of the 2023 Kathy A. Possinger Housing Policy Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. Kim will receive a stipend during the year to conduct research benefiting the affordable housing industry. Kim's fellowship project will connect and analyze issues that are often discussed separately but have consequences from their combined impact on seniors: those are property taxes and aging-in-place. 

Read the official Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency press release for more information. 



November 11, 2022

This past June, the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) announced initial accreditation for West Chester University’s Bachelor of Science in Urban and Environmental Planning degree for a five-year term effective January 2023. WCU joins only 15 other undergraduate programs in the United States to be nationally accredited.

In its report, the review committee noted many areas of excellence including a notable strength in the use and application of technologies embodied in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which is supported by a close linkage between program faculty and ESRI, faculty engagement in community and regional planning practices, and high-quality and energetic students who gain valuable real-world experience.

“The department has spent many years carefully developing a planning program that builds on the strengths of the Geography & Planning Department and the College of Business & Public Management,” said Dr. Dottie Ives Dewey, Associate Dean of the College of Business and Public Management and Professor of Planning. “Accreditation by the PAB is a great acknowledgement that our program aligns with the performance expectations, quality standards, and values central to the planning profession. We’re especially pleased that the PAB recognized the quality of our students, as they are the true testament of the quality of the program. We believe the B.S. in Urban & Environmental Planning program is well-positioned to continue to educate new planners and make lasting contributions to local communities in Chester County and beyond.”

PAB’s mission is to promote excellence among planning programs and ensure high quality education for future urban planners. PAB currently accredits 15 bachelor’s and 78 master’s programs at 81 North American universities. Accreditation by the PAB indicated that the program has undergone an external review and substantially meets the PAB standards and criteria. PAB bases its decisions on the overall quality of the program, its performance relative to its mission and strategic plan, and its performance relative to PAB’s five standards.

Accreditation (or a degree from an accredited program) serves as a marker of approval from the planning academy as well as the planning profession. Practitioners and employers view accredited programs highly in providing the core for professional education with commonly recognized standards for skills, knowledge, and values. Accreditation provides an assurance that a program’s graduates are well prepared for practice with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively serve in the workplace and with the public. Graduates from accredited planning programs are also eligible for AICP Candidacy status immediately upon graduation.

While the Department of Geography and Planning had been educating planners for many years, the B.S. in Urban and Environmental Planning officially launched in Fall 2016 with the growing demand in the region and nationally. The curriculum equips students with the professional and technical skills needed to guide the complex processes of a changing world, to utilize modern technology to create a sustainable built and natural environment, and to enrich communities through leadership, entrepreneurial creativity, social responsibility and environmentally sustainable planning and policy. As of May 2022, the program has awarded degrees to 62 students.

“I think that the planning studio courses helped solidify that planning was the career path I wanted to follow,” said Patricia Quinn ’21, M’22, who is currently a Transportation Planner for the Chester County Planning Commission. “They laid out a structured but amenable roadmap for projects and students made the final product their own.”

The most recent 2022 graduation class has a 100% placement rate of either being employed or admitted to graduate school upon graduation. Employers include townships, counties, engineering services firms, GIS and technology firms, and not-for-profit entities including environmental organizations and community development organizations.



West Chester University's Department of Geography and Planning is proud to be featured by Esri in one of its user stories. Read about how the department incorporates Esri’s software platforms into its courses, and especially how it was able to teach GIS during the pandemic.

Long with Marshall Award


June 30, 2020

West Chester University graduate student Gabrielle Long was awarded the Lewis H. Marshall Award which is presented annually by the Chester County Association of Township Officials (CCATO) to a West Chester University student demonstrating academic excellence with a career intent to work in local government in Chester County.

Long, who earned a B.S. in Integrative Biology in 2018 and GIS Certification in 2019, recently completed her M.S. in Geography in 2020. She has served as a GIS Analyst and Parks & Recreation Ambassador for East Goshen Township.

The Marshall Award dates back to in or around 1972 and honors Lewis Marshall. Marshall served as the Secretary/Treasurer of West Goshen Township, CCATO, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors.

Melanie Anderson


June 12, 2020

West Chester University graduate Melanie Anderson ’20 was recently announced as one of six recipients of a Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Philadelphia Scholarship. Anderson graduated this spring with her M.S. in Geography.

CREW Philadelphia awards annual scholarships to deserving local college and university women who are pursuing a career in or related to commercial real estate. The women chosen for the scholarships receive a monetary award, as well as benefits including membership in CREW Philadelphia and opportunities to attend Chapter and CREW Network events.

“Throughout my academic experience, I have completed many courses and projects that focused on sustainability,” Anderson said. “My passions are in sustainable economic development that prioritizes the best interest of the people and our natural environment. 

“As an Urban and Environmental planning major, I have learned about the importance of community engagement, planning history and ethics, population geography, and land use planning. As a graduate student, I have gained more experience in GIS and data analytics. I hope for a career in commercial real estate where I can apply all these skills to assist in creating a place that will be representative of all values of sustainability.”

CREW Philadelphia is the commercial real estate industry’s premier business network dedicated to supporting the achievements of women in commercial real estate. They have more than 180 local members who are engaged in all facets of commercial real estate. CREW Philadelphia is one of 75 local chapters of CREW Network. More than 11,000 CREW Network members represent nearly every discipline within the industry and are located in over 70 major markets across the globe.



July 24, 2019

West Chester University’s Department of Geography and Planning was honored with a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award during the annual Esri User Conference, held in San Diego, CA, this summer. More than 19,000 professionals, educators, and students attended the conference.

WCU was one of only three institutions of higher education that received an award out of 178 institutions acknowledged this year in fields spanning local government, agriculture, environmental analysis, emergency response, retail, and water management. Esri’s annual SAG Awards recognize select organizations from around the world that are using geospatial technology to solve pressing challenges and those setting new precedents and innovation in the use of GIS.

Calling the award “a fantastic honor,” Gary Coutu, WCU professor of geography and planning, noted that the department received the award for its innovative use of GIS and 3D modeling for facilities mapping and management of campus. A WCU team created a virtual reality model of campus to allow a user to “walk around” campus as a tour and to envision new campus buildings, public space, and review tree growth, over time, across campus. A web-based scene of this application was produced to share these visualizations across the internet. Seven students who worked on specific aspects of the 3D project were Kevin Hazley, Morgan Sapia, Jason Karian, Kyle Erisman, Rich Simpson, Tyler LaMantia, and Eric Quinn.

Graduate assistant Sapia also assisted Coutu this summer with creation of a 3D image and map of the interior of the Business and Public Management Center, where the department and GIS lab are located. Working with Matthew Waychoff, building information architect at Philadelphia-based mobile capture and computational modeling company, they used a handheld LIDAR camera to capture imagery that is being integrated into their current 3D model of the building. It will be online later this semester.

Individual buildings are also being modeled for office and classroom management. This includes a QR code-enhanced building management application that allows facilities personnel to inventory a room and create a work order to request maintenance. The next application of the indoor models will be for emergency response and delivery management.

“West Chester University has a special relationship with Esri,” notes Coutu. “We use the entire suite of their software and it is part of our education, research, and management activities. Our in-depth knowledge of GIS software and geospatial software has given us the opportunity to work closely with Esri solutions engineers: We have served as beta-testers for some of their software. Students come to WCU to learn GIS because of our reputation and relationship with Esri. Eight of our alumni currently work at ESRI headquarters in Redlands [CA] and we have about 10 other alumni at ESRI Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Denver. It is exciting to be associated with a company that is so innovative and committed to action on local and global issues.”

Esri, the global leader in location intelligence, builds ArcGIS, the leading mapping and spatial analytics software for desktop, software as a service (SaaS), and enterprise applications.

WCU’s project deployed this tech: ArcGIS, ArcGIS Pro, AGOL, CityEngine, Collector, Survey123, Workforce, Business Analyst, Community Analyst, Geoplanner, ArcGIS 360 VR, and ArcGIS Indoors (beta).