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 in1935 and has a long, rich history of producing geography majors and graduate degrees. With a department of 8 faculty, West Chester University maintains vibrant undergraduate and graduate geography and planning programs. 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, Mewha Scholarship, Geography Club, and 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


Delaware Valley Geographical Association Fall and Spring Dinner Meetings
The DVGA includes persons interested in geography from 12-15 institutions of higher learning in the region as well as planning agencies, some K-12 schools, atlas companies and other organizations. The loosely defined Delaware Valley stretches from Kutztown and East Stroudsburg to Glassboro, NJ and from York, PA to Temple, University of Delaware, Rutgers Camden and beyond. To be placed on a mailing list and to learn the specifics of the fall meeting, visit the DVGA website.

Middle States Division, Association of American Geographers
AAG Annual Meeting information can be found Middle States Division, AAG website for more details. The Geography Bowl is an annual competition which takes place at this meeting; top scorers receive some support to attend the AAG meeting in the spring, and compete there.

Pennsylvania Geographical Society
The Pennsylvania Geographical Society (PGS) is an organization that promotes geography and the use of geographical skills, encourages research in geography, and facilitates the exchange of ideas, methods and materials among geographers. For more information visit their website by clicking here... PGS.

Pennsylvania Planning Association (PPA) Annual Meeting
The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association, APA-PA, holds annual conferences. Don't miss Pennsylvania's largest annual gathering of the planning profession.

Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting
Professional conference for geographers. Join fellow geographers, GIS specialists, environmental scientists, and other leaders for the latest in research and applications in geography, sustainability, and GIScience. For more information, please visit the AAG web site.

Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP)
The ACSP is a consortium of university-based programs offering credentials in urban and regional planning. Click here for more information on upcoming conferences.


Student Groups

Geography Club

Geography Club

"Welcome to West Chester University's Geography Club. What does the Geography 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

JOIN THE GEOGRAPHY CLUB NOW! and don't miss our FACEBOOK page!

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

Geography 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.

Easter 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 Association for American Geographers (AAG) which holds an annual conference during the spring of each year (see 'Events' for this year's conference location). West Chester University department faculty have held prestigious positions in the AAG. Please see the AAG website for more information. 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. Please see the Middle States Division website for more information. West Chester University's Geography faculty are past officers and presidents of the MSDAAG.

There is a local chapter of the AAG, the Delaware Valley Geographical Society (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. Please see the DVGA website for more information.

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 (PPA) 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. The Southeast Section Council information is provided on the PPA website

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. The PGS holds its annual meeting during the fall.

The National Council for Geographic Education works to enhance the status and quality of geography teaching and learning.