Geography and Planning program at WLU sets students up for success


Maureen Zambito? I pulled these from her post.

From left, Tom Humphreys, Mayor Glenn Elliott and Derek Dimmey pose for a photo at Wheeling’s City-County Building.

Students at West Liberty University have the opportunity to major or minor in geography and planning as part of the College of Liberal Arts. According to the WLU website, “Students who major in geography and planning gain a sophisticated perspective of the elements of both physical and human geography and the ways in which physical and cultural environments influence each other.”
On March 4, students met with Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliot and Herb Faulkenberry, the Vice President of Sales at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center to talk about their experiences and expertise in the field.

Robert Kruse, professor of geography, shared his thoughts on the meeting saying, “The students in Geographies of World Tourism benefited from hearing about how a premium resort such as Oglebay goes about creating a sense of place and marketing itself regionally.” Kruse continued , “Geography and Planning students benefited from Mayor Elliot’s knowledge about planning and executing projects in Wheeling that are intended to make the city more attractive to current and prospective residents.” He went on to say, “Meeting and talking with the mayor was important for our majors because our students take courses that deal with land use, community planning, urban geography, and tourism that foster the type of knowledge and skills that the mayor uses every day.”

The WLU website says, “A common interest among students is an intrinsic curiosity about the importance of space and place in cultural, economic and environmental situations.” Kruse says, “Whatever their interests, Geography and Planning provides students with a unique set of skills needed to understand the spatial patterns of human-environment interaction.” Students in the program also have a good chance of being ready in the job market after graduating. Kruse explained, “The more important opportunity for students is that they graduate with a degree in Geography and Planning ready to pursue jobs in their specific areas of interest. Rather than having a narrow knowledge base and skill set, they arrive in the job market ready to compete for the types of indoor and outdoor positions that they feel passionate about.”

Jonathan Howard, WLU student minoring in geography and planning, shared his experience talking with the Mayor. “When I met with the mayor, we went to the city building and got to talk with him about some of the different plans the city was wanting to propose at the time with Wheeling Heritage. It was very interesting and got me thinking more about development in downtown, which is my true passion.” Howard also shared his experiences talking with Herb Faulkenberry. “He helped us understand the true ins and outs of tourism on a resort level and was very interested in speaking with each and every one of the students in the group to understand where we are and where we want to go.”

Howard is double majoring in Entrepreneurship and Marketing in the College of Business but knew the geography and planning program would only benefit his future. Howard shared, “I currently have my real estate license in West Virginia, and I am a part of the National Association of Realtors, and I’m going into real estate development after school, so using my double major paired with my minor in geography I believe set me up perfectly to go into real estate after my undergraduate degree.” He went on to say, “There are quite a few jobs like city planning and other developmental types of jobs out there that this program prepares you for.”

The geography and planning program is something that all students, regardless of their major or future plans, could benefit from, and potential students may consider this major or minor.