Chair's Message

Chair's Message

From the Department Chairperson, Kevin Keenan

Kevin Keenan

Winter 2023 Newsletter

On October 6, 2023 the Department of Geography, Planning, & Sustainability attended the College of Science and Math’s College Assembled for the first time ever. Because the School of Earth and Environment (SEE) has now affiliated with CSM (as of this academic year), and our Department is part of SEE, we were invited to attend this large gathering. I had the honor to say a few words about the Department to the CSM faculty, and our faculty also had a moment to introduce themselves to the group. As I stated in my commentary, I am so thankful for my colleagues that make this Department such a wonderful place every day of the year, and I want to reiterate that message here.

The Department of Geography, Planning, & Sustainability strives to be a student-centered, research-intensive environment, and hopefully it shows. As I reported in the CSM Assembled, the Department is incredibly productive bringing in over 1 million dollars in research grants with just four full-time research faculty in the 22-23 academic year. Our dedicated teacher-scholar faculty teach roughly 1,500 students across our many course sections in a typical semester. These faculty work hard to create a nurturing and welcoming environment for both undergraduate and graduate students, which have led many to external recognition such as the 2022 Planning Studio students getting their work published and Geographic Information Science (GIS) student Jackie Ganter being awarded the Best Undergraduate Student Paper by the Middle States Regional Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. Our faculty support GIS mentors to help other students learn GIS, they advise the Rowan University Student Planning Organization and the Geoclub, and they offer countless innovative, exciting, and novel courses such as Geography of Beer (see nearby story by Dr. York) and learning opportunities (such as a mock planning board meeting; see nearby story by Prof. Bucknum). Dr. McGlynn is offering a field-course to the U.S. national parks (which is effectively a “study national” course) over winter break, and over 130 students expressed interest in my own study abroad in the spring entitled “Great Urban Spaces of Europe.”

2023 has been a year of significant changes for the Department. Not only did the department join CSM, but we also said goodbye to Dean Lacovara, who assumed a full-time leadership position at the Jean and Ric Edelman Fossil Park. We thank Dr. Lacovara for his leadership and support since 2016. We welcomed our new affiliation with the College of Science of Math (and our new Dean, Dr. Pophristic). We said goodbye to Dr. Lydia Horne, who left Rowan to take a position in her home state of Maine. And we welcomed two new full-time faculty, Dr. Qian He and Dr. Louis Thomas (see introduction notes nearby). Despite all this change, including the arriving new year, one thing remains constant: the amazing esprit de corps that the faculty and staff create in the Department of Geography, Planning, and Sustainability.



Kevin Keenan, Ph.D.
AICP Associate Professor & Department Chairperson

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