Departmental Background

Founded in 1972, the Rowan Department of Geography & Environment, has been a Rowan nexus for outstanding education, scholarly activities and community outreach. The department's dedication to its mission, pioneering spirit, philosophy of community engagement and culture of collegiality was set in motion by the founding chair, Dr. Marvin Creamer who was himself passionate about geography education. Although Dr. Creamer went on to gain international notoriety after his 1984 retirement as the first documented person in history to captain a sailboard in a circumnavigation of the globe without navigational instruments, he is most proud of his legacy of departmental alums who have gone on to excellent careers and notable accomplishments.

Since its founding, the department has graduated 754 baccalaureate degrees in Geography, Environmental & Sustainability Studies, Planning and GIS. Our alumni include over five dozen K-12 teachers, hundreds of successful planners, government employees in agencies such as FEMA, Census Bureau, EPA, National Geospatial Intelligence, NJ DEP, NJ Department of Community Affairs, the National Guard, and private firms such General Electric, Kraft Foods, and Oracle among many others. Hundreds of our graduates have gone on to graduate school many of which now work in Higher Education with at least eight Rowan geography alumni becoming university faculty members including several at Rowan.

Our Programs:
The department's original BA in Geography expanded its most successful tracks into professional programs with a BS in Planning and BS in Geographic Information Sciences. In 2007 the university created an interdisciplinary BA in Environmental & Sustainability Studies and in 2011 the program became housed in the department and the departmental name was changed to Geography & Environment. In addition to our 4 baccalaureate degree programs, the department houses 9 minor programs including: Geoscience, Global Issues, Sustainable Built Environments, Applied Geographic Knowledge, Environmental Science. We have a growing number of Certificates of Undergraduate Studies (GUGS) that we house or contribute to with other academic departments. We have a required internship for all of our undergraduate degrees and are currently developing plans for graduate-level programs. Our flexible curricular design allows student to coordinate programs to achieve minors or even dual majors without requiring extra semesters.

Our Faculty:
The department's seven tenure track faculty members are dynamic, innovative and dedicated to our educational mission as a public university with small class sizes that allows for an authentic and memorable educational experience for our students. Our faculty are nonetheless highly productive as scholars and researchers publishing in high-level journal and playing key roles within our professions. In the 15-16 academic year, the department conducted $488,056 in externally funded research and projects surpassing other Rowan departments in total successfully funded projects including: Physics and Astronomy, Mathematics, Biological Sciences, Computer Science, Chemical Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering among others. With only 6 tenure track faculty last year, the department's successful record of funding makes it one of the most productive on campus in terms of funding per tenure track faculty member.

Our Focus:
As a department, we are engaged in a spectrum of activities and curriculum through our innovative programs, scholarly activities, community outreach project and student internships. Common areas of focus include issues of sustainability, human/environment interaction, environmental policy and management, community planning, land conservation, and geospatial techniques. There is a strong common mission of addressing the pressing environmental degredation of our time in history through study of human/envrionment interaction and applied efforts for working toward solutions. We have strong collaborative ties with other departments at Rowan as well as multiple stakeholders throughout the region and beyond.

Our Future Prospects and Academic Home:
In 2016 the Rowan Department of Geography and Environment became the first department in the newly established School of Earth and Environment. This new school is a presidential initiative to elevate the profile of environmental activities at Rowan, raise the research stature of the university and promote STEM education. The initiative entailed the recruiting of the prominent paleontologist, Dr. Kenneth Lacovara to be the founding dean of the new school. The department will be joined by a brand new Department of Geology and a Department of Environmental Science. The Department of Geography, Planning and Sustainability is proud to be the first department in this new school and excited for the new opportunities this will lead to for our students as we continuing to advance our vision of understanding the earth, protecting the environment and fostering a sustainable future.