Geography 101

GEOG 101

Catalog Entry

GEOG 101 Europe and the Americas [World Geography]. (SS)
Three hours lecture (3).

Recommended for students preparing to teach.  Comprehensive review of physical and cultural features of Europe, the former Soviet Union, the Americas and Australia.  General Education credit-Social and Behavioral Sciences or International and Intercultural Studies.


Detailed Description of Content of the Course

The major topics of this course--regional physical elements, cultural values, population composition, employment structure, urbanization and economic integration--are presented in order that students may formulate an understanding of those parts of the world comprising the European culture sphere. To achieve this, the topics mentioned are first discussed from a global perspective. This introductory part is followed by overviews of each world region with particular reference to patterns of population and land use. The underlying historic factors which have led to these patterns are emphasized. Selected territories (nation states of Europe, independent nations that emerged in the wake of the breakup of the former USSR, regions of the USA and Canada) are characterized in the context of current events.


Detailed Description of Conduct of the Course

This is primarily a lecture course but with a reasonable time assigned for discussions. The topics of discussions are global issues (e.g. development gap in the world) and current processes within the regions in question (e.g. post-communist transformations).

Students are encouraged to formulate an understanding of global interaction in all its multivariate and controversial complexity. Several reference maps are assigned before discussions of the corresponding regions to ensure that mental associations with the geographical space are developed.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Goals specific to course.

The major goal of this course is that students gain an understanding of the physical and historical processes, which have created the present landscapes of Europe and the Americas. Objectives toward this end are:

  • Students will acquire a general knowledge of the basic themes of physical and cultural geography
  • Students will learn the distribution patterns of physical and cultural elements of regional geography and be able to draw these patterns on maps
  • Students will recognize that patterns change over time so that they can see and explain the cumulative effects of physical processes and cultural history of Europe and the Americas

Goals specific to General Education Program.

  • Students will develop the ability to think critically and creatively about spatial relationships in the modern world and understand how these relationships have developed through time.
  • Students will be introduced to a variety of tools, methods and data used in geographic analysis.
  • Students will use Internet and other computer technologies to retrieve geographic data.
  • Students will acquire a geographic perspective, permitting them to identify cultural values and historic precedents that shape regional and international relationships both here and abroad.

Goals for Area 5. International and Intercultural Studies.

  • Students will develop not only an awareness of but also a basic knowledge of cultures in a non-US region of the world by studying these cultures in their unique geographic contexts.
  • Students will identify and discuss in geographical or spatial terms important global issues and the interactions of peoples and places across time.
  • Students will come to appreciate diversity and be able to analyze similarities and differences among cultures and places that impact both their own and other people's perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors.
  • Students will come to understand how people in a different part of the world see themselves and others.

Goals specific to Area 8. Social and Behavioral Sciences.

  • Students will understand how geographers approach the study of a place and its peoples.
  • Students will know how to collect geographic data, analyze and present spatial information, and solve geographic problems related to people and their use of the lands they inhabit.
  • Students will acquire basic geographic knowledge and skills that they can apply in evaluating and interpreting their own culture region as well as those elsewhere in the world.
  • Students will understand cultural factors that through time have shaped spatial interactions.
  • Students will understand the diverse ways in which human relations have been structured across space, time and cultures.


Assessment Measures

Four midterm examinations are given during the semester. All examinations are multiple choice, but also have a mapping component. In addition there are 4 graded assignments in essay format to assess development of competencies in summarizing geographical data.

To assess the attainment of the broad general educational goals, essay-type responses to questions on homework assignments require synthesis of a variety of information related to the geography of this European culture region. Information is retrieved from tables, graphs, printed matter, and oral presentations of guest speakers.

To assess the attainment of specific Area 5 goals, students are asked in homework assignments and on examinations to express a regional culture’s characteristics in terms of spatial patterns and the interactions that form(ed) the area’s unique environmental and historical milieu.

To assess the attainment of specific Area 8 goals, students will be challenged in assignments and exams to demonstrate their skills in working with geographic data to interpret the ways human relations are structured across space, time and cultures.


Other Course Information




Date Action and Action Approved By
September 2005 Bernd H. Kuennecke, Chair