Augustana offers a major and minor in geography, a “bridge” discipline combining the natural and social sciences. The program introduces students to urban and rural environments, other cultures, international issues and economic systems. The liberal arts curriculum encourages working relationships in related fields, particularly biology, business, geology, history, political science, public administration, Asian studies and Latin American studies.
Some students assist faculty on research projects for area agencies: flood plain and land use inventories for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; housing surveys for Davenport, Iowa; architectural surveys for Rock Island and Moline, Ill.; and watershed land use studies for the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Four faculty members, each with a Ph.D., teach physical geography, human geography and methodological courses, including Geographic Information Systems, complemented by field experience.
The department’s research boat, The Scholarship, takes students onto the Mississippi and Rock rivers for research on water resources, urban planning, transportation and biogeography.
Geography majors embark on field trips with class groups or the entire department. Recent destinations include the Pacific Northwest, Mid-Atlantic East Coast, Colorado and New Mexico, Great Plains, Upper Mississippi Valley, Wisconsin and the Lake Superior region.
The geography and the geology departments are housed in Swenson Hall of Geosciences, a proximity that encourages cross-disciplinary work and interests in the earth sciences. Swenson Hall also houses the Fryxell Geology Museum and the bulk of the David M. Loring Map Library which holds more than 100,000 climatic, geologic, hydrologic, topographic and transportation maps and 6,000 aerial photographs.