College of Letters and Sciences

DEPARTMENT OF GEOGRAPHY, GEOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Gaining expertise regarding what is around us, above us, and underneath us in the physical world is a pursuit that is exciting, gratifying, and crucial to further our knowledge as human beings. This is the world of geography and geology, and evniromental science.

The Department of Geography, Geology & Environmental Science offers an array of physical science, social science, and technical courses covering a wide range of academic interests and career paths that students may pursue. 

Contact us

Margo Kleinfeld
Department Chair & Associate Professor
Phone: 262-472-1087
Location: Upham Hall 120A

Patricia Filipiak
Department Assistant
Phone: 262-472-1071
Location: Upham Hall 120

GGES Facebook Icon  GGES Instagram Icon  GGES Twitter X Icon


The department of Geography, Geology, and Environmental Science (GGES) offers a variety of undergraduate majors, minors, and certificates. This application for the Regents Teaching Excellence Award is being submitted on behalf of a group of GGES programs: Geography and Environmental Science majors along with related minors focusing on geography and the environment.

Geography students can major in either a Geography: Environment and Society emphasis or a Geography: Geology emphasis, and may be awarded a B.A., B.S., or B.S.E. degree. The Environmental Science major has three emphases: Natural Science, Geoscience, and Environmental Resource Management. There are four minors: Geography, Geology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Environmental Studies. GGES also offers a GIS certificate.

The Department also houses and administers the International Studies major with four emphases: Business, Foreign Language and Area Studies, International Economics, and Public Diplomacy; the Japanese Studies major, and minors in International Studies, Japanese Studies, and Public Health. The Global Engagement Certificate is co-administered.

The history of GGES, which I describe in the next few paragraphs, is also a demonstration of our critically reflective approach to serving our students. GGES continually examines how we teach and what we teach in order to address student interests and society’s needs, to nurture students’ love of learning and curiosity, and to guide students as they choose professions and contribute to their communities. The Department of Geography program at UWW was established in 1963 and included a Geography major and a Geology minor. By 2000, Geology had become a major program and the department changed its name to the Department of Geography and Geology. (Interestingly, Geography was first taught in 1868 at the Whitewater Normal School, UWW’s predecessor. A year later, in 1869, T. C. Chamberlin was hired to teach Geology. Chamberlin would go on to become one of the most important geologists of the 19th century.)

The creation of the Environmental Studies minor was the next step in our evolution. Attentive to the success of the interdisciplinary Nelson Institute at UW-Madison, and mindful of the fact that students were looking for courses related to the environment, UWW faculty developed the Environmental Studies minor. It is noteworthy and a testament to our good working relationships with colleagues from across campus that the Departments of Biology and Chemistry relied upon and trusted the Geography Department to manage this important minor. Since its inception, the minor has been modified several times as it strives to offer a comprehensive overview of environmental issues. Today, the Environmental Studies minor requires students to take course in three areas of study: the physical environment, human environment, and techniques. Courses can be chosen from departments within the College of Letters and Sciences along with Safety courses from the College of Business and Economics. Students from all four UWW colleges find that the Environmental Studies minor complements their major—a testament to its broad appeal and success.

The next major change for GGES was the development of the Environmental Science (ES) major, first offered in Fall of 2012. Effective July 1, 2015, the Department of Geography and Geology officially became the Department of Geography, Geology, and Environmental Science. The ES major was created in response to recommendations from the Science Alliance Advisory Board. This group is now defunct but lasted about 15 years during which time they guided resource development and made curricular recommendations for the physical sciences. The group believed that because environmental issues were so complex, a program was required that provided students with greater breadth than any single disciplinary area could do on its own.

Today, the ES major is administered by GGES, although key decisions are made by the Environmental Science Advisory Board, a small group of Biology and Geography faculty. The ES program provides an excellent foundation for students interested in a scientific approach to solving environmental problems. Developed to provide breadth, it trains students in all three emphasis areas—the natural sciences, geosciences, and in environmental resource management. The major also requires the completion of a specific techniques area chosen by each student—mapping, lab and field methods, chemistry, or writing. These techniques are designed to teach a specific skill set with a student interests and future employment in mind.

Our mission is to prepare students to engage with a complex, dynamic, and interdependent world by:

• Providing them with in-depth knowledge about human cultures and the physical world;

• Fostering intellectual and practical skills that enable analysis of spatial patterns and processes, evidenced-based problem solving, and effective oral and written communication; and

• Encouraging a sense of social responsibility through the examination of real-world cases.

Faculty are committed to preparing students for employment opportunities in the private and public sectors, the pursuit of graduate degrees, and to develop meaningful relationships to their university, professional, and local communities. We meet these goals through classroom lecture and discussion, collaborative assignments, undergraduate research, internships, field courses, and travel abroad.

Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary major that focuses on the state of the environment, processes of change, and the overall relationship between humans and the planet. Students are encouraged to draw connections between disciplines, understanding that the environmental issues we face now, and will face in the future, are very complex. These issues typically require knowledge of physical, biological and the social sciences in combination with the liberal arts to provide the tools needed to address these challenges. Our program will accomplish this by providing:

  • Diverse curricula that prepare students for careers in the environmental sciences, or further graduate training.
  • Courses relevant to the needs of the modern, interdisciplinary field of Environmental Science, grounded in the tradition of the liberal arts.
  • Targeted emphases in the major that provide students with options for a variety of career paths.
  • Substantial academic and career advising.
  • Unique opportunities, such as internships and field experiences that enhance the ability of students to succeed in their chosen emphases.
  • Strong science literacy and interdisciplinary knowledge.
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills in the framework of the scientific method that lead to solutions to environmental problems.
  • Encouragement to identify and consider a diversity of viewpoints.
Juk  Bhattacharyya

Juk Bhattacharyya

Professor, Professor (Sv)

Department(s): GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI

bhattacj@uww.edu

Upham Hall 119 |

(262) 472-5257

Jonathan  Burkham

Jonathan Burkham

Associate Professor, Associate Professor (Ss)

Department(s): GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI

burkhamj@uww.edu

Upham Hall 114 |

(262) 472-7173

Eric D Compas

Eric D Compas

Professor, Professor (Sv)

Department(s): GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI

compase@uww.edu

Upham Hall 111 |

(262) 472-5126

Rocio R Duchesne-Onoro

Rocio R Duchesne-Onoro

Associate Professor

Department(s): GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI

duchesnr@uww.edu

Upham Hall 107 |

(262) 472-5124

Patricia  Filipiak

Patricia Filipiak

Department Assistant

Department(s): Physics, GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI

filipiap@uww.edu

Upham Hall 151 |

(262) 472-1067

John D Frye

John D Frye

Associate Professor, Associate Professor (Sv)

Department(s): GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI

fryej@uww.edu

Upham Hall 116 |

(262) 472-5270

Rex A Hanger

Rex A Hanger

Professor

Department(s): GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI

hangerr@uww.edu

Upham Hall 109 |

(262) 472-5258

Peter M Jacobs

Peter M Jacobs

Professor

Department(s): GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI

jacobsp@uww.edu

Upham Hall 113 |

(262) 472-1082

Jason R Janke

Jason R Janke

Dean, Professor

Department(s): College Of Letters & Sciences, GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI

jankej@uww.edu

Laurentide Hall 4101 |

(262) 472-1713

Stephen J Levas

Stephen J Levas

Associate Professor

Department(s): BIOLOGY, GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI

levass@uww.edu

Upham Hall 303 |

(262) 472-6200

Jeffrey  Olson

Jeffrey Olson

Associate Professor

Department(s): GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI

olsonjl@uww.edu

Upham Hall 112 |

(262) 472-5271

Andrea  Romero

Andrea Romero

Associate Professor

Department(s): GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI, BIOLOGY

romeroa@uww.edu

Upham Hall 363 |

(262) 472-1455

Sarah A Ryniker

Sarah A Ryniker

Lecturer 1

Department(s): GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI

rynikers@uww.edu

Upham Hall 120A |

(262) 472-1087

Dale K Splinter

Dale K Splinter

Professor, Professor (Sv)

Department(s): GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI

splinted@uww.edu

Upham Hall 103 |

(262) 472-5156

Jeffrey A Zimmerman

Jeffrey A Zimmerman

Associate Professor

Department(s): GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY/ENV SCI

zimmermj@uww.edu

Upham Hall 105 |

(262) 472-1595

There are numerous scholarship opportunities available to students, both through the university, the College of Letters and Sciences and the Geography, Geology, and Environmental Science Department. To make life a little easier, all of the university's scholarship applications and requirement listings are available online.

Application deadline for all awards is February 28th (If the 28th is a Saturday or Sunday, applications will be due that Monday)

  • Fischer Scholarship
    • The Fischer Scholarship Program is supported by a trust fund established by Professor Warren Fischer, who along with Mrs. Rose Fischer, taught for many years on the UW-Whitewater campus. Grants have been awarded from this fund each semester since 1978. The Fischer's goal was to improve the quality of geographic education.
    • Additional information regarding the Fischer Scholarship Program can be obtained by contacting the Department of Geography, Geology & Environmental Science in Upham Hall 120 or calling (262) 472-1071.
  • Silver/Savage Literature, Writing and Science Scholarship
  • Y.W. Folk Memorial Scholarship 
    • Dr. Joseph and Eva Fok dedicate this scholarship to the memory of Joe's father, Y.W. Fok. Joe Fok, a 1971 graduate of UW-Whitewater, was an Obstetrics and Gynecology physician in the Madison, Wisconsin area. The scholarship will be awarded to full-time UW-Whitewater sophomore, junior or senior students who are pursuing a major in the sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Geology/Geography). An overall academic GPA of 3.5 or above is required. Preference will be given to those who are active in organizations. The scholarship may be renewable, but must be applied for each academic year.

An internship is an opportunity for students to gain experience while being supervised by a professional in their career field before graduating from college. It gives students a chance to apply what they have learned in their college career while trying out a new job without having to make a permanent commitment.

Internships can be paid or can be unpaid jobs and many times an internship position can be turned into a full time position with the company. Although an internship is not required for Geography/Geology majors here at UW-Whitewater it is suggested because employers look for people who have as much knowledge and experience as possible. Students who have had an internship are more marketable when they apply for jobs.

If you want to do a more comprehensive or current search, try one of these sites:

Do you want credit for your internship? Take this class!!

GEOGRPY 485 INTERNSHIP IN GEOGRAPHY 3-12 u
Students will be placed in an outside private or governmental agency where they will utilize geographic techniques in approaching practical problems relevant to the mission of the agency. An on-campus seminar with fellow interns and the supervisory instructor is required.
Prereq: Students with a major or minor program emphasis in geography must have completed a minimum of 14 units in geography and have the consent of the intern committee. Students of cognate majors must have a minimum of 9 selected units in geography and consent of the intern committee. Repeatable for a maximum of 6 units in major and 12 units in degree.

Deadlines

Deadlines of each internship varies but many deadlines are approaching fast. Most deadlines for summer internships are in DECEMBER! So get going on your internship research and start sending out your applications!

Where can I find out about internships in my field?

  • Visit the Career Resources Office in University Center 146 or on the Career Services page
  • InternWeb to search by location, industry, job function or time of year
  • Crunchbase, helping you make smarter career decisions

For internships available for General Geography Majors visit:

For internships available for Urban Suburban Majors visit:

For internships available for Physical/Environmental Majors visit:

Water Resource related activities and Summer Internships

  • Contact Donna Sefton at sefton@dnr.state.wi.us 
    She is the South Central Region Coordinator for the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program at the DNR and a Whitewater Alumna

For internships available for Geology Majors visit:

  • GeoSociety for LOADS of internships in Geology. Positions available for summer 2007 will be posted on December 4th.

For internships available for Technique Majors visit:

  • Applied Data Consultants is one of the largest GIS firms in the Midwest, and occasionally accepts internship applications, though they rarely advertise positions.

For internships available for International/Regional Majors visit:

  • The Student Conservation Association provides service internships and volunteer opportunities in National Parks, Forests and other public lands.
  • AmeriSpan is a website to help students who are interested in interning abroad.

Read about Real Life Experiences from Student Interns in Geography

A faculty members demonstrates volcanic activity as smoke rises from a box.
Environmental Science (Geosciences) Major/Emphasis
Environmental Science (Geosciences)

With a Geosciences emphasis, you will study the interconnectedness of our planet and how environments have evolved and adapted uniquely in different parts of the world. With courses on subjects such as biogeography, paleontology, ecology, and more, you will gain a well-rounded understanding of ecosystems' past and present.

Icicles hang off a building.
Environmental Science (Natural Sciences) Major/Emphasis
Environmental Science (Natural Sciences)

Study the physical world through an environmentally aware lens with an emphasis in Natural Sciences. Learn how the presence of rocks and minerals is affected by the location of ecosystems, study Earth's biological history and predicted future, and gain a proper understanding of how laws regarding environmental preservation are passed.

A person puts a green leafy plant in a jar with dirt.
Environmental Science (Sustainability and Environmental Resource Management) Major/Emphasis
Environmental Science (Sustainability and Environmental Resource Management)

Passionate about how we are currently treating and preserving our environment? Then an emphasis in Sustainability and Environmental Resource Management is right for you. You will take courses on topics such as sociology's relation to the environment throughout time, philosophical debates surrounding environmental science and literature created based on it, as well as the study of natural sciences such as biology, ecology, paleontology, and more.

A student stands in the prairie among tall grasses.
Environmental Studies Minor
Environmental Studies

If you’re interested in the relationship between the natural environment and how people’s actions affect the environment — plus how damage can be avoided or mitigated — then a minor in environmental studies might be right for you.

Electronic mapping equipment mounted on a kayak going down a river.
Geographic Information Systems Minor, Certificate (Undergraduate)
Geographic Information Systems

Do you love maps, charts and graphs? Are you passionate about using technology to visualize data that can inform decision-making on everything from urban planning to natural resource development and protection? A minor in GIS will provide training in the latest technology as well as a foundation in earth's geography and the human world.

A person wears goggles while removing buckthorn in a wooded area.
Geography (Environment and Society) Major/Emphasis
Geography (Environment and Society)

With an emphasis in Environment and Society, dive into the study of how location in the world and the makeup of the land affects and is influenced by the people who inhabit it. With courses on environmental geology, economic and historical geography, climate change, social sciences, and more, students will be prepared for a career in studying and legally preserving our environment.

A student throws a GIS drone into the air in a field.
Geology and Geography Major/Emphasis, Minor, Certificate (Undergraduate)
Geology and Geography

Gain expertise about the world around, above, and beneath the surface as you pursue studies crucial to furthering our knowledge as humans. Studying Geography and Geology will help you gain understanding of the Earth's environment, natural disasters, weather systems, natural phenomena, and global warming while implementing positive change to the world.

Major/Emphasis

With a Geosciences emphasis, you will study the interconnectedness of our planet and how environments have evolved and adapted uniquely in different parts of the world. With courses on subjects such as biogeography, paleontology, ecology, and more, you will gain a well-rounded understanding of ecosystems' past and present.

Major/Emphasis

Study the physical world through an environmentally aware lens with an emphasis in Natural Sciences. Learn how the presence of rocks and minerals is affected by the location of ecosystems, study Earth's biological history and predicted future, and gain a proper understanding of how laws regarding environmental preservation are passed.

Major/Emphasis

Passionate about how we are currently treating and preserving our environment? Then an emphasis in Sustainability and Environmental Resource Management is right for you. You will take courses on topics such as sociology's relation to the environment throughout time, philosophical debates surrounding environmental science and literature created based on it, as well as the study of natural sciences such as biology, ecology, paleontology, and more.

Minor

If you’re interested in the relationship between the natural environment and how people’s actions affect the environment — plus how damage can be avoided or mitigated — then a minor in environmental studies might be right for you.

Minor, Certificate (Undergraduate)

Do you love maps, charts and graphs? Are you passionate about using technology to visualize data that can inform decision-making on everything from urban planning to natural resource development and protection? A minor in GIS will provide training in the latest technology as well as a foundation in earth's geography and the human world.

Major/Emphasis

With an emphasis in Environment and Society, dive into the study of how location in the world and the makeup of the land affects and is influenced by the people who inhabit it. With courses on environmental geology, economic and historical geography, climate change, social sciences, and more, students will be prepared for a career in studying and legally preserving our environment.

Major/Emphasis, Minor, Certificate (Undergraduate)

Gain expertise about the world around, above, and beneath the surface as you pursue studies crucial to furthering our knowledge as humans. Studying Geography and Geology will help you gain understanding of the Earth's environment, natural disasters, weather systems, natural phenomena, and global warming while implementing positive change to the world.