New BA in Geography integrates GIS training

A new Bachelor of Arts program in Geography, a first on Staten Island, is being offered by the Department of Political Science and Global Affairs. The new program is part of the College of Staten Island’s continuing efforts to expand its offerings to meet the needs of the students and the community.

The creation of this new program is a significant development, as only a limited number of universities in the NY metropolitan area offers the opportunity for students to major in Geography.

“This is an exciting opportunity for students to learn more about population debates, human migration, climate change, and political conflicts, to name just a few themes that geographers explore,” Dr. Peter Kabachnik, Associate Professor of Geography, noted. “Students majoring in geography will develop their curiosity about the planet into critical thinking skills, an appreciation of connections between people and places throughout the world, and an understanding of the key global issues that will shape the 21st century. Not only does this solidify CSI’s position in producing global citizens and leaders for the community, but it also hones skills that employers desire.”

In addition, students will also gain training in Geographical Information Systems (GIS), an important skill in today’s highly competitive job market, as GIS experience offers one of the fastest-growing and lucrative employment opportunities in the current job market.

“Not only are GIS skills in high demand, but a wide range of industries and businesses rely on GIS, from marketing, transportation, environmental, and law enforcement,” added Kabachnik.

The 120-credit liberal arts degree will offer students the ability to develop an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of the Earth’s physical and cultural environments, as well as the interrelationships between peoples and their environments at a variety of scales.

This new academic option resulted from a self-study, conducted in Spring 2010, in which both reviewers strongly recommended the development of a Geography major. In addition, student feedback also provided strong support for its establishment.