View Text Only Version

Geography and Planning

Departmental Life

Contact Geography and Planning  

Geography and Planning

West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Department of Geography and Planning
College of Business and Public Management
Fifth Floor
Business and Public Management Center
50 Sharpless Street
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-2343

Name: Dr. Dottie Ives Dewey
Position: Department Chair

Name: Heather MacQueen
Position: Department Secretary

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 7 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.

Student Summer Travel Opportunities

Lauren Wolf at Machu Picchu

Lauren Wolf at Machu Picchu

Ryan Olsen at Rainbow Falls in the Adirondacks

Ryan Olsen at Rainbow Falls in the Adirondacks


American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting. Join fellow geographers, GIS specialists, environmental scientists, and other leaders for the latest in research and applications in geography, sustainability, and GIS science. For more information of the Spring annual meeting, visit the AAG website.

Middle States Division of the American Association of Geographers (MSAAG) Annual Meeting and Geography Bowl. The Geography Bowl is an annual competition which takes place at the Fall annual meeting. Top scorers receive some support to attend the AAG Annual Meeting to compete. For more information on the annual Fall meeting, visit the MSAAG website.

Delaware Valley Geographical Association (DVGA) Dinner Meeting. One or two high-achieving geography majors from each of the DVGA region schools will be awarded. For more information on the Spring dinner meeting, visit the DVGA website.

Pennsylvania Geographical Society (PGS) Annual Meeting. Students workers can earn free registration to this Fall meeting if they work a shift at the registration table. For more information on the annual meeting, visit the PGS website.

American Planning Association (APA) Annual National Planning Conference. This event brings together and connects thousands of planners, planning commissioners, appointed and elected officials, and students. For more information on the annual Spring conference, visit the APA website.

American Planning Association Pennsylvania Chapter (PA APA) Annual Conference. Don't miss Pennsylvania's largest annual gathering of the planning profession. For more information on the Fall annual conference, visit the PA APA website.

Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) Annual Conference. For more information on the annual conference, visit the ACSP website.

Student Groups

Geography & Planning Club

Geography Club

"Welcome to West Chester University's Geography & Planning Club. What does the Geography & Planning Club do? Past activities have included lectures, field trips, camping, canoeing, rafting, hiking, and backpacking. Our Club is dedicated to making a friendly, social environment for students, geographers, planners, environmentalist, faculty, etc. Our main purpose is to have a social network, where we can belong and utilize during, and after we leave WCU. In the fall we have an annual canoe trip along the Brandywine Creek, attend at least one local fall conference, and attend at least one national conference in the Spring. This upcoming year (17-18) the executive board and myself have a lot of new things that we would like to incorporate into our schedule. The Club meets every other Wednesday (starting Sept. 6th) in BPC 113 at 3:30pm. Come join us and see what all the fun and excitement is about." -Sean McLaughlin


For more information about current Geography & Planning Club meetings and events, please contact Geography & Planning Club President, Kelly Wolff at or Geography Club Advisor, Dr. Gary Coutu.

Past Geography & Planning Club Events

Canoe on the Brandwine Sept. 15th from 3:30 to 6:30pm. Sign up in BPC 506.

Environmental Film Series: Sept. 14th at 6:30pm in BPC 101.

Middle States Division Conference and Geography Bowl Competition Oct 21st-Oct 22nd followed by a tour of Letchworth State Park in the Fingerlakes.

Eastern State Penetentary Tour Oct. 27th.

Professional Groups

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. Dorothy Ives Dewey.