Tuesday, August 18, 2009

UA Geography Program expands

Students are now able to earn bachelor’s degrees in geography at UAS in Juneau. In cooperation with the UA Geography Program the new degrees add to the four baccalaureate geography degrees that are offered at UAF.

“We want to build beyond UAF,” UAGP Director Mike Sfraga said. “This allows students more options; it allows them to shop the UA Geography Program. These six degrees are unified by a common foundation.” Students take five core geography classes at either UAF or UAS, then choose the specific degree. Options at UAF include a bachelor of arts with emphasis in the Circumpolar North and Pacific Rim, or a B.S. with options in environmental studies, landscape analysis and climate change studies, or geographic information science and technology. UAS now offers a B.S. in geography and environmental resources and a B.A. in geography with emphasis on environmental studies.

Geography provides a holistic view of the Earth, its distinct and varied regions, and interactions between human activities and the physical world. It is the two-way bridge between the physical and social sciences, exploring the interrelationships between the Earth’s physical and biological systems and how these environmental systems provide a natural resource base for human societies. The discipline-based foundation classes at both campuses educate students in the core tenets of geography and include an introduction to geography; earth systems (physical geography); people, places, and environment; GIS, and geography seminar. The university’s geography coursework also provides the capacity for the integration of new and emerging technologies such as GIS and remote sensing.

The UA Board of Regents approved the new UAS degrees in June and discussed the “regents’option,” which will eventually allow UAF students to study at UAS and vice versa. “It’s rich,” Sfraga said. “It expands the options and takes advantage of faculty expertise at both campuses and the unique landscapes found at these very different locations.”

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