GGES department rebranded as GEO

The department of geology, geography and environmental studies will continue to offer the same classes and degrees but under the GEO title. Photo courtesy

Starting in summer 2018, the department of geology, geography and environmental studies (GGES) will be listed in the course catalog as GEO instead of GGES. GEO will also replace and unify the GEOG and GEOL course codes.

“All departments have designations at the college and we have been called GGES since the formation of the department in 1982,” said professor Jason VanHorn, chair of the department.

VanHorn voiced his concern that the old designation GGES did not capture all the department had to offer:

“GGES is a poor branding acronym and does not encompass who we are and what we do, but GEO does,” said Vanhorn.

Although the department has been using the GEO name for the past eight years, according to VanHorn, they have been seeking to use the name more formally.

This fall the faculty senate approved the request to change our acronym from GGES to GEO and move ahead with the new course designations of GEO.

He said this rebranding will better communicate the extent of the department, including geology, geography and environmental science.

“[It] also recognizes that our focus is on earth studies, both physical and human in nature,” said Van Horn.

“We consider ourselves an outdoor department that studies all aspects of the earth: below in geology, on the surface and atmosphere in geography and in all the interactions of humans and nature in environmental studies.”

Classes in the spring 2018 semester will continue to be labeled with the GEOL or GEOG course codes. However, starting in the summer of 2018, they will be listed in the course catalog with the GEO code.

This change would not affect any courses or degree programs currently offered, only the course designations. In fact, VanHorn said the courses the GEO department offers set Calvin apart from our peer institutions.

“They are distinct among Christian colleges and remain an important aspect of the curriculum of Calvin College,” VanHorn said.

VanHorn expressed excitement about the rebranding:

“To me, it brands the department in better and in more recognizable ways. … My colleagues share my enthusiasm.”