Mission Statement

Mission Statement

As one of the departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Geography and Planning promotes excellence in the following four interconnected areas:

  1. the scientific understanding of the spatial patterns and processes within the physical systems of the earth’s surface and atmosphere;
  2. the understanding of human systems in spatial context;
  3. the role of planning in achieving a better and more sustainable quality of life for people within those systems; and,
  4. the understanding and application of geospatial analysis and technology in geography and planning.

The Department provides strong and diverse undergraduate and graduate curricula that aid its students in finding productive and meaningful places in society. In addition to providing instruction of the highest quality, the Department faculty are dedicated to scholarship and service. The Department divides its efforts among teaching, research, and service, although the proportional effort of individual faculty members varies according to their interests, strengths, and abilities in consultation with the chair.

Because teaching and scholarship are central to the mission of Appalachian State University, the Department of Geography and Planning cultivates a learning environment wherein diverse populations of faculty and students interact at the highest possible level. The environment we strive to build is conducive to inquiry from a variety of perspectives. It is an environment in which students and faculty are encouraged in their efforts to understand and critically analyze their human and physical environments.

We seek to maintain an environment in which effective scholarship is encouraged and supported. The major purposes of research activities are to expand the frontiers of knowledge, support quality instruction, and/or to serve the needs of the people in the local to global continuum. Teaching and scholarship should be blended effectively; thus, it is important that individuals maintain an on-going research agenda to remain current in their chosen fields and contribute to the understanding of important problems in geography and planning. Faculty members are encouraged and supported to pursue external funding. Service to the discipline, region, and university can be an important component of a faculty member's professional activity.

Appalachian State University is an institution not only in northwestern North Carolina,
but of northwestern North Carolina, with linkages to the global community. We seek to serve the people of our region through effective teaching, research, and outreach. We recognize the reciprocal spatial relationships at many scales that influence our region. As a community of scholars we value our home region and its people by engaging with them in our work, offering them our services, and by learning from them.

We value and encourage collaborative efforts with our peers in the Department, the university, and elsewhere. We strive to be ambassadors for sound, sustainable, and inclusive planning practices and human-environmental interactions. The effective exchange of ideas and information can take place only in an atmosphere free of abuse or harassment and characterized by courtesy and respect. Treating students, staff, and other faculty in a courteous and respectful manner is an expected component of professionalism and vital to the establishment of an appropriate learning environment. All faculty members are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is free from discriminatory practices and harassment.