The Department of Geography and Meteorology, founded at Valparaiso
University in 1931, offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography.
About 30 students major in geography each year, while another
15 minor in the discipline. This makes for ideal class sizes
and allows for close interaction between students and faculty.
The Department's facilities include the new F.P. Kallay
Laboratory in Schnabel Hall, designed to facilitate research
and teaching in the emerging areas of computerized geographic
analysis, including GIS, remote sensing, and cartography.
Outfitted with over two-dozen Pentium computers, the lab
utilizes ESRI's widely used ArcView and PC ARC/INFO GIS
The Department also offers an especially rich variety of
field courses, giving students first-hand experience in
geography outside the classroom. Trips in the last
few years have visited Yellowstone National Park via the
Oregon Trail, major Indian mound sites of the American South,
and the various National Park units of central and northern
Arizona, including the Grand Canyon. These field courses
normally run during Spring Break or summer.
The geography department also encourages student attendance
at academic and professional conferences. Students attended
the 2006 Meeting of the Association of American Geographers
in Chicago. The group of VU students who attended the 1992
meeting of the East Lakes Division of the Association of
American Geographers (AAG) at Central Michigan University
was the largest from any school. VU students also attended
past meetings at Indiana State University and the University
of Nebraska. VU even hosted the 1996 joint meeting of the
West Lakes and East Lakes Divisions of the AAG. This meeting
brought nearly 200 geography faculty and students from across
the Midwest to our campus, and VU geography majors played
an integral role in smooth operation of the conference.
On the strength of their academic achievement, VU students
have earned teaching assistantships and research grants
in geography from such nationally recognized graduate schools
as the University of British Columbia, University of Iowa,
Pennsylvania State University, Michigan State University,
the University of Kentucky, and the University of Texas
just to name a few. The geography faculty maintain ties
with a number of these programs and actively assist students
in the graduate school application process.
Students who maintain a high level of academic accomplishment
in geography are eligible to join Gamma
Theta Upsilon, the International Geography Honor Society.
Potential employers and graduate programs alike recognize
this achievement, and over a dozen students currently belong
to the VU chapter of GTU, which dates to 1950.
Outside the classroom, geography students interact socially
through various departmental outings. In the past, groups
from the Department have visited Chicago's Chinatown district,
the Field Museum's Maps exhibit, the nearby Indiana Dunes
National Lakeshore, and Indianapolis' MSE Corporation, one
of the largest GIS firms in the Midwest.