In a 2009 external review of our department, the reviewers stated “the program reflects a level of excellence rarely found in regional state university settings. We encountered a dynamic group of faculty, staff, and students who are enthusiastic about their program… If there is a department that captures and reflects the university’s mission statement about providing “unsurpassed, student-centered teaching and learning, and outstanding research…that serve our community, state, and nation,” GES is certainly one of the most notable for this institution.”
The department also prides itself for being recognized as one of the university’s “Unique and High-Need” Programs; indeed, it is the only program in the College to receive that distinction. In part, this distinction comes from the department's commitment to sustainability studies, geology course offerings, and geospatial technologies. GES is a program of excellence in all facets of teaching, research, and service and models “best practices” within the discipline of geography.
Our faculty have produced an impressive number of pure and applied publications. The quality and quantity of publications in peer-reviewed outlets is on par with many Tier I (Carnegie classification) institutions. Faculty in the department are committed to a high level of scholarship and support one another in pursuing academic achievement. This is a key strength, and ensures not only the success of GES faculty, but also provides an excellent example to the graduate and undergraduate students.
The department has an excellent record of obtaining external funding. Based on a report from the UCCS Office of Sponsored Programs, the department’s awards totaled nearly $1,000,000 as of 2012. These grants have been a critical source of graduate student funding. As a result, many graduate student have gained not only essential financial support but also indispensable experience as “research assistants” for GES faculty working on cutting-edge projects.
Recent hires, such as Christine Biermann, PhD, who started Fall of 2018, have only solidified the reputation of the GES department. Many of these new hires to the department already had an outstanding reputation in the discipline and/or are poised to make significant contributions in the future.
GES faculty serve on editorial boards of the discipline’s top journals, hold key positions in the discipline’s largest professional organization, and serve as board members and/or consultants for numerous local and regional community organizations, illustrating that the GES faculty has exceptional standing in many different settings.