The Undergraduate Geography Experience at the University of Mary Washington - Faculty Perspective

Authors: Caitie Finlayson*, University of Mary Washington
Topics: Geography Education
Keywords: geography education, undergraduate research
Session Type: Lightning Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Maryland C, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The University of Mary Washington is a public, liberal arts university in Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA. The university has approximately 4,300 undergraduate students and an additional 500 graduate students. The Department of Geography generally has around 80 to 90 majors and also offers a GIS Certificate program as well as a Master’s in Geospatial Analysis. There are ten full-time faculty members in the department, with eight faculty members teaching in the undergraduate program. I teach a large section of World Regional Geography every semester as well as courses in quantitative methods, environment and society, and on the geography of religion. I am passionate about undergraduate research and have worked hard to integrate undergraduates in the research and publication process. I have supervised dozens of independent studies and have had students present at regional and national conferences. I also support undergraduate publication, through undergraduate journals or through co-authoring papers with undergraduates, particularly in open-access, peer-reviewed journals. I’m looking forward to discussing how faculty, particularly at smaller universities, can find ways of incorporating undergraduates into the research design, collection, and dissemination process. I am also looking forward to sharing ideas with other faculty and students interested in the undergraduate experience and learning how we can create more meaningful engagements with “doing” geography at the undergraduate level.

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