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 Benue State University, Makurdi

Department of Geography

BRIEF HISTORY

The Department of Geography was one of the departments established in the Faculty of Social sciences when the university was started in 1992 under the leadership of Dr. John Laha Nyagba now deceased. Other teaching staff includes Mr. Kerenku, Mr. G. M. Kwanga, mr, H. S. Kapu (deceased). Dr.A. Lyam joined the University on a full-time basis in 1994, thus increasing the staff membership to 5. towards Geography Department the end of 1995, Mr.D.S Ortserga joined the staff list. Later in 1996, Mr S.A Iorkua also came in. in 1997, Mr. James Ikyernum and J.A Aper was also employed in the department. Mr B. Tyubee joined in 1998, and later Mr. O. Idoko assumed duty in 2001. Dr. Henry Hwaker (Part-Time), Dr. L.O.C Anene (Contract), Prof. T. T Gyuse, Mr. J Abawua, Dr. T.T Ologunorisa, Mrs. E.N Jeiyol, Misss L.O Oklobia also joined the department. Mr. J Agber also joined the staff on a visiting basic to teach in Urban and Regional Planning programme. Mr P.T. Anule has been employed as Departmental Cartographer. In 2007, Dr Oche, Dr. Ogwuche, Mrs Mngutyo, Mr Iorliam and Miss Ade joined the staff of the department in various capacities.

In addition, the work in department is currently enhanced by visiting and sabbatical academic staffs including Mr. Agber and Dr. Hwakar who teach planning and urban issues, Prof. Ezeashi who teaches climatology and fluvial geomorphology, Associate Prof. Dung-Gwom who teaches Urban and regional planning.

PHILOSOPHY

Geography is rightly to sometimes as the “spatial science”, that is a disciple that is concerned with earth space and how it is being used. Geography’s name is reputed to have been coined by the Greek scientist Eratoshenes around 200 BC from the word “geo” which means “the earth” and “graphein” which means “to write”. Thus from its formative stages as a disciple geography’s concern was “writing about the earth”.
From the very beginning, geographic writing concentrated on both the physical structure of the earth as well as the nature and activities of the inhabitants that fuels explorations of “our home” by men through the centuries.

Geographers study spatial variation. They seek to understand how and why things differ from place to place and over time. Geography is about space and the content of space. This interest developed as a formal disciple over time beginning with Greek and roman scholars who did much to map the Mediterranean world, devising techniques such as the grid of parallels and meridians. They studies climates, landforms, animals and peoples. The Chinese similarly developed interest in geographic information.
Modern geography owes its rebirth from the surge of scholarship that follows the European renaissance. From the beginning, the disciple was recognized as being broad and integrative in nature. Initial interests were with patterns and processes of change in physical landscapes. This was combined with an interest in variations in people and customs and how this interplayed with the physical environment. As the discipline matured, there was a proliferation of subdivisions in the discipline ranging from physical sciences oriented subdivisions like climatology, biogeography, geomorphology and water resources, soils to the more human subfields such as economic geography, human geography, urban geography, political geography and so on. But these subdivisions are closely related and are characterized by three overarching interests: first they are all concerned about spatial variation of physical and human phenomenon on the surface of the earth and the interaction between them; secondly they are interested in spatial systems that link man-environment interactions in one area with interactions in another: thirdly growing out of the first two is concerned with regional systems of human ecology.

At BSU we recognize that this broad geographic interest can be organized in a number of unifying categories or traditions. These include the (1) earth science tradition which covers studies landforms, and its derivatives; weather and climate, (2) the culture environment tradition which covers the studies in area such as population, cultural, and political geography and and the geography of spatial behaviour; (3) the locational tradition which would include areas like economic and urban geography and the geography of natural science, and (4) area analysis focusing on regional concept.

Our programme therefore begins by building a foundation in skills such as maps and map making, surveying and Geoinformatics, and computer aided strategies including familiarity with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). We also include in the foundation basic knowledge of the earth systems: climatic, geomorphic, environmental, human and social. This foundation is required for all students before they can graduate from our Programme. We regard the first two years in the university as foundational. The last two years of the Programme allow the students morechoice in direction and concentration. While they must still continue to be familiar with material in all traditions, they are allowed to take electives such that they can have concentration, first by inclining towards a focus on human or physical geography, and then within this broad category focusing on a sub disciple from which their project or capstone essay is derived.

Being located in the southern Guineans Savannah biome, along a major African River, with a state that straddles several river basins and a population that is primarily agrarian, our programmes aim at relevance by increasing electives in areas that are unique to our environment and relevant to the emerging needs of the populations in the immediate environment.

OBJECTIVES

At the non academic sphere, we aim at accomplishing the following objectives:

• To produce graduates who have critical thinking abilities so that they can analyse and synthesize geographic data not just for academic purposes but for solving practical problems they might encounter in the course of contributiong to national development objectives.
• To produce graduates who have a deep understanding of thr Nigeria environment and how it fits in and interacts with the global environment.
• To graduate students who will be self reliant.
• To produce graduates whose personal values are in consonance with national objectives and aspirations. Such values include hard work, commitment, discipline, integrity and patriotism.

In terms of specific academic objectives we expect that all graduates of the Department of Geography at BSU will have developed the following competencies:

• Be able to read and interpret topographical maps
• Be able to understand and appreciate physical processes in the environment, e.g climatic, biotic, geomorphologic, hydrologic, and pdologic, natural resources and environmental degradation.

• Be able to understand and appreciate interaction between social and physical components of the environment
• Be able to gather information, compile and make them into maps.
• Be able to read the environment, document and report in a systematic way.
• Be able to use equipments and techniques to capture, analyze, interpret and report geographic information.
• Be able to perceive and appreciate geographic change and environment dynamics.
• Be able to understand basic principles of interpreting aerial photographs and satellite imagery.
• Be able to understand and appreciate human processes in the environment, for example; urbanization, economic activities, cultural dynamics, rural settlement and development, agriculture, transportation and regionalization.
• Be able to identify geographic problem, investigate and report findings in appropriate geographic style.
• Be able to understand the development of the disciple and major paradigm shifts in geographic thought and practice.

JOURNAL OF GEOGRAPHY

     

JOURNAL OF GEOGRAPHY