Throughout Loyola University, faculty are engaged in research projects to address urban environmental problems. With Institute of Environmental Sustainability's presence, faculty can now collaborate and develop rich opportunities to advance society’s understanding of their connection to the environment under one guise. The faculty span over 20 disciplines and has state-of-the art research labs, including an aquatic simulation facility.
IES research currently focuses on three critical facets of the interactions between humans and their environment:
- Analysis of historical urban land use and population growth patterns and their relationship to urban environmental quality
- The measurement of the impact of environmental change on the physical, natural and biological web that forms the ecosystem of the region
- Assessment of the economic and political viability of alternative policies to improve environmental quality and insure a more equitable distribution of environmental well-being.
A multidisciplinary research team of Loyola faculty with expertise in issues concerning the urban environment demonstrates IES's direction in the research, teaching and training and outreach in which students and faculty will become involved in to promote the mission of both the university and IES.
Spotlight on GIS for Research
Since 2005, the capabilities of Loyola’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program have expanded enormously. Collaborations and projects have been conducted by GIS staff for faculty, staff and students in University departments as varied as Environmental Sciences, History, Human Resources, Chemistry, Enrollment Management, Social Work, Campus Safety, Journalism and Experiential Learning courses, to name a few. Some of the ways GIS is currently being used to advance the work of Loyola University Chicago include:
- Faculty members are discovering new ways of analyzing research questions with the geographic approach. Loyola faculty benefit from having GIS tools and expertise at their disposal as they come together for collaborative research projects and grant proposals. High quality, professional maps are produced for publications and presentations.
- We are improving the spatial literacy of students with new GIS courses. As demand has grown for exposure to the incredibly powerful tools and techniques offered by GIS, courses have been developed to serve this need. Students can apply these skills to their independent research projects. The job market for those with GIS experience, in many different fields, is strong and growing.
- Community members benefit from the connection to Loyola University Chicago through "Community Based Participatory Research" and collaborative asset mapping projects done by students and supervised by a GIS Specialist. Edgewater and Rogers Park have taken advantage of this University resource to further their own sustainability efforts. We share this specialized format of knowledge and expertise with community partners that may have limited access to such resources.