2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 4:30 PM


SCHULTZ, Richard B., Department of Geography and Environmental Planning, Elmhurst College, 190 Prospect Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126-3296 and KRAUSE, Linda, Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, Elmhurst College, 190 Prospect Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126, richs@elmhurst.edu

Traditionally, Elmhurst College, a small liberal arts college in suburban Chicago, has concentrated its efforts on offering regional geography courses from a cultural and human perspective. Although physical geography courses were offered, the advent of GIS technologies in the last several years had shifted the emphasis from regional course offerings to that of a spatially oriented program. The concept of spatial visualization was realized as an important facet even to a geography department at a small liberal arts college, a concept unheard of even ten years ago. Before making the shift in focus, the Department of Geography and Environmental Planning revisited its mission statement and proposed a new GIS Certificate Program. GIS Courses as part of the Program include: “Fundamentals of GIS”, “GIS Applications using VBA/VB.NET”, “Remote Sensing and the Global Positioning System (GPS)”, “Database Management Systems for GIS”, and a capstone course entitled, “GIS Applications”. The courses are offered in a hybrid format and meet only bi-weekly, convenient for those with full time positions as well as traditional students who want to supplement their portfolio. The entire Program may be completed in less than one calendar year. Not only does the GIS Certificate Program fulfill a need within the Department, but it also taps into new markets of working professionals, who may not have time to pursue a degree program in GIS. Because GIS was applicable in so many areas, the target market was rich. Although a small four-year liberal arts institution, EC has neither the personnel available (two full-time faculty) nor the hardware for a full GIS Program. However, the established need for GIS across the curriculum begs that students to be presented with some knowledge of spatial concepts, especially since GIS can be advantageous to so many students of various concentration areas. Elmhurst College's GIS Certificate Program will be presented as a case study of a GIS Certificate Program being offered at a small liberal arts college.