University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Geography

Teaching Mission Statement and Learning Goals

Mission Statement

To cultivate and inform an enthusiastic and critical engagement with the community and the world through the study of physical geography, human geography, human/environment relationships, and geographical techniques. Students will develop skills in:

  1. Identifying and framing research questions.
  2. Qualitative and quantitative research methods.
  3. Geospatial technologies.
  4. Ethical and cultural competencies.
  5. Societal and environmental stewardship.

Learning Goals

Geography courses are structured as introductory (00-level), intermediate (100-level) and advanced (200-level). Introductory courses typically serve as pre-requisites to intermediate and advanced courses. Learning goals across a range of topical areas at each level of the curriculum are outlined below.

Topical area
(skill area)*
00 Level 100 Level 200 Level
* Refers to skill area outlined in teaching mission statement
Geographical / scholarly approaches to contemporary problems (1,2) Gain exposure to geographic perspectives on fundamental processes/phenomena
Identify sources of understanding/knowledge
Develop familiarity with approaches to critiquing existing knowledge
Develop more sophisticated understanding of processes over space and time
Draw on multiple fields of knowledge to analyze geographic phenomena
Begin to formulate original and integrated analyses and critiques
Identify key problems or gaps in existing geographic research or thought
Critically engage with and contriibute to the production of knowledge
Critically review scholarly literature and use it in formulation of original research
Breadth of the discipline (1) Identify where the class lies within the scope of the discipline Understand scope and breadth of a subfield of the discipline Deepen understanding of subfield and explore cutting edge/emerging themes in subfield
Concepts Introduce fundamental vocabulary and concepts appropriate to the field Build upon existing content and voabulary/build conceptual depth Deepen exposure to advanced concepts and knowledge
Argument (3, 4) Examine basic structure of an argument in geography Develop understanding of distinctions and connections between the theoretical and the empirical
Formulate answerable research questions /How are research quesitons framed?
Deepen ability to connect theory with experience and observation through formulation and conduct of independent research
Demonstrate how insights gained from critical evaluation contribute to or challenge existing knowledge
Methods (3, 4, 5) Explore methods used in discipline (quantitative, qualitative, mapping)Survey a variety of research methods and practice
Practice methods employed in subdiscipline
Identify methods appropriate to original research questions and apply acquired skills and knowledge to complete research
Learning and communication Identify personal learning styles, develop organizational skills and hone study strategies
Read for content and clearly communicate understanding
Develop more sophisticated communication skills in writing, oral presentation and class discussion Practice professional conduct of communication through written documents and oral presentations
Develop leadership role in discussion and learning

Last modified August 19 2009 06:38 PM