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Courses : Syllabi : 426

Geography 426 Regional Field Studies


Diana Gauss Richardson

Course Description

Welcome to the field course in Geography! The Geography Regional Field Studies course examines and analyzes the 4 major themes covered in regional Geography courses - physical, cultural, environmental and economic geography – for the Colorado Plateau area (Arizona, Utah primarily). Regional characteristics will be presented in class, as well as discussion of field techniques used in studying landscapes and land uses. The heart of the course is the actual field trip to the Colorado Plateau (during Spring Break). The field trip will include Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument, Lake Powell/Glen Canyon Dam, Lee’s Ferry, Navajo Nation, and the Grand Canyon. The trip logistics are handled by Aztec Adventures, and include travel, entrance fees to parks, lodging and most meals (some dinners will be on your own). The fee, approx. $700.00, goes directly to Aztec Adventures for this service – none of it goes to the instructor or the Geography Department.


The course includes classroom lecture and discussion, and the field trip. The class will meet 4 times prior to the trip and once following the trip. Class lectures will cover the 4 geographical components of physical, cultural, economic and environmental geography for this region. Students are expected to read assigned material and prepare responses to questions on the readings, participate in class discussion, prepare a project/term paper, and, of course, attend the field trip!


1) Term Paper – this paper should be 6 - 8 pages of text, plus supplements: maps, diagrams, sources used (MLA format), photographs, etc. The term paper will present the geographic principles and attributes of the region, which will be examined both prior to, and during the field trip: Physical Geography, Cultural Geography, Environmental Issues, Urban Settlement and Development, and Economic Geography. Additionally, you will research a specific topic that you choose (from a list of suggested topics) and incorporate this topic within the paper. These specific individual topics should comprise a pproximately half of the paper. I have many books and articles that could be used as references for these papers, in addition to your own research. I will keep these in my office, and you will be able to check them out from me. Once you have a topic, see me for further instruction on the paper. 80 points
2) Text/Articles Summaries. Brief 2-3 page summaries of the text(s) 25 points each and 2 articles 10 points each.
3) Field trip. Attendance and participation during field trip – including presentation which will cover your specific topic and will be given at a location relevant to that topic. Presentations should be around 10-15 minutes in length, and demonstrate your familiarity with your topic, and its relevance to the Colorado Plateau. 80 points.
4) Reflection Paper: Brief 2-3 page reflection of the experience. Include value of lectures, written materials and trip – what was most significant to you, what did you learn, your overall impression of the experience. 20 points
5) Regional Mapping: Using the handout and list of locations, prepare map.15 points

In addition to class times, set up time to meet with me regarding your paper and presentation.


Attendance is mandatory at all classes and the field trip. Missing a class will reduce the overall point value by 25 points or one letter grade (unless previously cleared with me).


Grades will be based on points. A total of 225 - 250 points are possible in the course. The standard percentage breakdown will be used: A 92% and above; A- 90-91%; B+ 89%; B 82-88%; B- 80-81%; C+ 79%; C 71-77%; C- 69-70%; D+ 68%; D 60-67%; D- 59%; F 58% and below.

Learning Outcomes

1) Students will gain knowledge of the particular region examined in the course, specifically pertaining to the physical, cultural, environmental, and/or economic structure of the area. (Understand the complex relationships between nature and culture/society)
2) Students will apply map interpretation, and other relevant geographic representations. (Interpret maps and other geographic representations)
3) Students will gain knowledge of processes which led to current geographical aspects, i.e., the historical perspective.
4) Students will gain an understanding of the relationship of the region to a larger context; its influence on other regions, and how other regions have influenced its development and condition. (Analysis of spatial organization of people, places and environments.)
5) Students will practice observation, literature research, and present findings in a term paper and oral presentation.
6) Students will develop respect and appreciation for diversity - cultural, socioeconomic, and physical, and will be able to analyze characteristics of sustainability within this region.

The statements found on this page/site are for informational purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure that this information is up to date and accurate, official information can be found in the university publications.