Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability


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Vision Statement

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability (DGES) is to provide its students with the best geographic education possible and to conduct research that is socially valuable and recognized nationally for its excellence.


Unit Vision

Through our individual and collective research, teaching, and service activities, DGES seeks to understand the natural and social processes that pattern the earth's surface. The Department provides its students with an understanding of the variety and complexity of the world's cultural, economic, and environmental systems and their interaction, and it is committed to training individuals who have an improved awareness of environmental issues and also the theoretical and technical skills necessary for professional success.


Unit Goals

The Department's overall goals have been divided into teaching, research, and service to match the vision and mission of the department and the University.


Research Goals

  1. The overall goal of the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability is to continue to be the premier environmental studies department on the OU campus.
  2. We seek to expand upon our existing strengths in: Environmental Sustainability, Indigenous Societies, and Physical Systems.
  3. We will continue to produce policy-relevant research to provide local and regional stakeholders with appropriate information to make informed decisions that will promote improved environmental stewardship.
  4. Involve our students in applied research activities, with a specific focus on the three areas defined above, and also on local and regional issues.


Teaching Goals

  1. Continue to focus on Geographic Information Systems as a pivotal component of our teaching mission, and insure that students demonstrate technological capabilities related to geographic data interpretation and representation.
  2. Insure that Geography and Environmental Sustainability students develop sound analytical and problem-solving skills that make them competitive in the market place and sought after by employers.
  3. Promote active learning pedagogies in all our courses to stimulate student enthusiasm and facilitate effective learning outcomes.
  4. Develop students' appreciation of geography as an interdisciplinary discipline and also the relationship of the discipline to a global society.
  5. Create a learning environment in which students are stimulated to inquire, explore, process, and apply their knowledge.


Service Goal

The Department strives to provide relevant, practical service to the university, the community, the state, and to the discipline. Our students and faculty are expected to lend their expertise to appropriate stakeholder communities.