Dr. Mehmet Aritan

Dr. Aritan joined the Geography & Earth Science Department in 1979. He has traveled extensively in many different regions and countries. Through his travels, Dr. Aritan has gained first hand experience with diverse physical environments, cultures, and peoples, thus regarding himself as a "World Citizen".

His research interests include the regions of the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and Africa. Much of Dr. Aritan's research has focused on socio-economic development and urbanization trends in, and the medical geography of these regions.

Dr. Aritan serves as Treasurer and has previously server as Chairperson of the West Lakes Division of the Association of American Geographers. He is also a member of the advisory board to the International Studies Program at UW-L.

Dr. Aritan retired in May of 2009. More on his career and many achievements can be found here.

Ph.D.  1983 University of Kentucky
M.A.   1975 University of Kentucky
B.A.    1973 University of Nebraska

Courses Taught
GEO 110 World Cultural Regions (every semester); class satisfies the Gen Ed requirement for Global & Multicultural Studies
GEO 304 Geography of Europe (every third semester)
GEO 312 Geography of Africa (every third semester)
GEO 331 Geography of the Middle East & Asia (every third semester)

Contact Information
Dr. Mehmet T. Aritan
Geography / Earth Science
2011 Cowley Hall

Dr. Mehmet Aritan Retires

After a distinguished career that spans more than 30 years in the classroom, Dr. Mehmet Aritan retired at the conclusion of the 2008-2009 school year. Dr. Aritan joined the Geography and Earth Science Department in August 1979, and has dedicated 30 years of service to the state of Wisconsin, federal government, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, geography discipline, and his local community. Throughout his career, Dr. Aritan has thoroughly enjoyed engaging students to become better "citizens of the world" and increasing their awareness of the cultures and environments that surround them.

Throughout the years, he has traveled extensively in many regions, four continents, and twenty countries of the world as a student, tourist, observer, and teacher. Through these activities Dr. Aritan has gained first hand knowledge and experience of diverse physical environments, cultures, and peoples. Thus, he considers himself a “World Citizen”. In the words of a friend, Tom, he’s been there and done that!

A geography teacher in high school influenced Dr. Aritan so that he regarded geography the only subject to pursue for the rest of his life. Consequently, world became a field of study. Living on one continent and attending school on another on a daily basis naturally changes one’s perspective. Get a map to see where Istanbul is located. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but a map is worth even more. Additionally, he believes that there is a place for everything on Earth, and in geography we show that withf an ever so invaluable map.

Originally interested in physical geography, in graduate school Dr. Aritan’s interests included human/cultural geography as well. Eventually, he wrote his PhD. dissertation on urban settlements with poor residents. Later, he added medical geography to his interests as the Ebola outbreak in Africa threatened the health and life of the whole world in the 1990s. He conducts research on disease ecology, diffusion of diseases, and delivery of health care. His latest is published in a section in “Natural Environment and Culture in The Mediterranean Region” – Cambridge Univ. Press, UK, 2008. He also has studied socio-economic development in the so called “Third World”. He says that these human aspects must be understood in relation to their environments that shape their respective cultures. That, he says, is how one needs to look at geography and teach it.

Dr. Aritan, therefore, taught courses in physical geography and world regional in his career of over 34 years altogether, including teaching assignments at UW-L, University of Kentucky, and Winona State University. Dr. Aritan’s regional interests, in which he taught courses, are; The Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, South Asia, The Far East, and Europe.

His course offerings included; 

GEO.110-World Cultural Regions GEO.328-Geography of the Far East
ESC.121-Weather and Climate GEO.331-Geography of the Middle East, South & Central Asia
ESC.122-Maps and Landforms GEO/ESC.450- Internship in Geography & Earth Science
GEO.210-World Regional Geography GEO/ESC.490/590 –Independent Study in Geography & Earth Science
GEO.304-Geography of Europe INS.495 - Graduate Level "Readings in Geography"
GEO.312-Geography of Africa GEO.675-Topics for Teachers

Dr. Aritan has the following degrees;

GCE certificate with geography emphasis from Norwood Tech-London, England, 1969
BA in geography and a minor in geology from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1973
MA in geography from University of Kentucky, 1975
PhD. in geography from University of Kentucky in 1983

Among the many contributions of Dr. Aritan to both the discipline of geography and to UW-L include:

Organized and conducted of the AAG’s West Lakes Division Conference (UW-L campus) 1989
Treasurer for AAG’s West Lakes Division 1990-2008 for which he was awarded the “Bill Miller” distinguished service award
Chairmanship of the AAG’s West Lakes Division, 1989-90
With the late Dr. Ronald Weinkauf, conducted an NSF workshop for area teachers in application of computers to classroom teaching, Summer 1985
Symposium on Iraq
Two Symposium on African Droughts and Famines
Advisor to the International Studies Program
Advisor to the International Students’ Organization
Advisor and Coach to the Soccer Team
Advisor to a UW-L Fraternity
Designer and Coordinator of the World Cultural Regions (Geo. 110) – a UW-L General Education requirement
Received four grants; two of which were external
Reviewed several proposals and manuscripts for; the NSF, Growth and Change periodical Man and Universe (Insan ve Kainat) periodical
Attended numerous international, national, regional, and local conferences and presented research papers
Published 5 articles, book sections, software and book reviews
Served on university Senate Committees including; International Study, Minority Affairs, Physical Facilities committees
Was awarded Writing Emphasis Certification
Was nominated for the most accessible teacher award

Dr. Aritan plans to take some time off before he attempts to write his contemplated articles/book on many subjects from population explosion to globalization and the consequences. He also plans to travel using La Crosse, WI as his home base. He says he will miss the classroom, advising, and his students the most.

Contact Information:

Dr. Mehmet T. Aritan
Aritan.mehm@uwlax.edu or
through the Geography & Earth Science Department’s Academic Department Associate (608)785-8333.