Supporting Minority Students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Information for this profile was provided by Adriana Martinez, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Information is also available on the program website.

Jump Down To: Context | Keys to Success | Attracting New Students | Supporting Our Majors | Preparing Students for Careers | Additional Information

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville


Founded in 1957, the Department of Geography at SIUE offers an undergraduate major and minor in Geography and a master's degree in Geographical Studies. The department offers a variety of courses in human, physical, and regional geography, as well as geospatial techniques. Our faculty conduct research on a wide variety of topics at the local, regional and global scale. Students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels have the opportunity to work closely with faculty on current, groundbreaking projects or gain experience through internships. Our students are prepared for careers in a wide range of fields. For example, recent graduates have taken positions as park rangers, urban planners, retail location analysts, resource managers, climate scientists, and geospatial analysts. Wherever you want to go, a degree in Geography from SIUE can take you there.
A total of approximately 11,341 undergraduate students are currently enrolled at SIUE. Fifty three percent of these students are female, 15% African American and 4% Hispanic. Of the 115 total geography majors, approximately 5 are from minority groups.

Keys to Success

Attracting New Students

Because a direct career path is not evident in Geography prior to knowing what the discipline involves, many of our students come to our major after taking a university required geography or geoscience course. Once exposed to geographic principles and topics, they become interested in knowing what types of careers are possible and the myriad of human problems that can be remedied by examining the world through a geographic eye. In particular, we at SIUE have found that minorities are especially interested in degree programs that provide a direct career path. Through these introductory courses, our faculty convey this information and are successful at recruiting students across campus into our major.

Supporting Our Majors

The Geography program at SIUE prides itself on one-on-one student-faculty interaction. Throughout their time at SIUE, Geography majors have the opportunity to develop relationships with our faculty that culminate in a Senior Assignment project. During the Senior Assignment, students choose a faculty member with which to conduct an undergraduate research project employing many of the skills learned in previous classes. The Senior Assignment in Geography is a two-semester project in which students frame geographic problems in terms of current research, use appropriate methods to examine the problem, and discuss their results in written and/or oral form.

Preparing Students for Careers

In Geography we have the following goals for students graduating from our program:
  1. Display knowledge about the discipline of Geography;
  2. Display an understanding of geographic concepts and processes;
  3. Effectively communicate orally and in writing;
  4. Demonstrate critical analysis of ideas, theories, and/or data;
  5. Demonstrate the ability to frame geographic problems;
  6. Demonstrate the ability to apply geographic knowledge, principles, and/or tools to solve problems;
  7. Synthesize and integrate geographic knowledge.

These goals are accomplished both throughout a student's coursework and student-faculty classroom interactions and the culminating research project in the Senior Assignment. This culminating experience allows students to integrate what they have learned throughout their time at SIUE within their major area of study and interact with a faculty member to develop a project, and in Geography, present that project in the form of a written paper or illustrated poster presentation.

Addition Information