Association of American Geographers
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National Councillor

(two to be elected)
 
ROBERT BRINKMANN. Director of Sustainability Studies and Professor, Department of Global Studies and Geography, Hofstra University. Director of Sustainability Research, National Center for Suburban Studies. Ph.D. (Geography) and M.S. (Geology) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. B.S. (Geology) University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
 
Professional Experience: Professor, Hofstra University (2011-Present). Various Positions at the University of South Florida (1990-2011) including Professor, Chair of Geography, Chair of Environmental Science and Policy, and Interim Associate Dean.
 
Professional Service: Vice-Chair of the Board of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (2011-present, Board Member since 2010). Co-Editor of the Southeastern Geographer 2007-2011. Member AAG Awards Committee (2009-present). President, Florida Society of Geographers, 2009-2010. Past Chair of AAG Water Resources Specialty Group. Research Board Member, University of South Florida Institute for Research in Art.
 
Honors, Awards, Grants: University of South Florida (USF) Outstanding Teaching Award, USF Sustainability Mentor Award, USF Housing Faculty Fellow, USF Unsung Hero Award from Student Government. Research grants from a number of organizations including: Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Solid and Hazardous Waste Research Institute, and Pinellas County Florida.
 
Research Interests and Publications: My research focuses on human alteration of the environment.  Specifically, I am most interested in understanding the distribution of pollution. I also conduct research on a wide variety of sustainability issues, particularly in a suburban context. I also do research on karst landscapes, especially those in urbanized Florida. My most recent work concerns issues of sustainability management in communities. I think that there are many ways that small communities are leading the way in sustainability management in the absence of Federal leadership. But, there are geographic variations to community success. What lessons can be learned from these variations to achieve success? Many believe that we have only a handful of decades to try to make changes in our cultures in order to avoid environmental collapse from any of a number of problems including global warming, toxic waste, and soil erosion.    Thus, my research is largely applied and focused on improving community sustainability and environmental health. I am the co-author of two books and the author of one book under review. I also published many single authored and co-authored peer-reviewed articles and book chapters including articles in Journal of Cave and Karst Research, Energy Policy, Environmental Geology, Environmental Geochemistry and Health, Southeastern Geographer, The Professional Geographer, Engineering Geology, Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy, Physical Geography, and The Florida Geographer. I am starting a new journal (available in 2012) called the Journal of Suburban Sustainability.
 
Statement: I believe that the AAG has a responsibility as a professional organization to assist in educating the public on several key issues facing our planet. Many recent political leaders seem to be anti-science, or perhaps more kindly, uneducated, about the value of science and geography to our daily lives. Indeed, the work of climate modelers, pollution experts, and social justice researchers is often discounted as a “hoax” or “made up”. I believe that our organization should take a more aggressive role in supporting the work of geographers and find ways to make their work more valuable to the general public. Great strides have been made by the AAG to be more influential in public policy, but we also need to have a strong public presence. I am also interested in finding ways to make our discipline more “green” by evaluating the nature of the organization and the practices of the annual meeting. In what ways can we make our annual meeting more sustainable?   We have also heard the grumbling from members about costs and the overall quality of the annual meeting. Are there ways in which we can tinker with the structure of the annual meeting while reducing costs and making it more sustainable? 
 
JOHN HARRINGTON, JR.   Professor, Department of Geography, Kansas State University, B.S. and Ph.D. Michigan State University, M.A. University of Minnesota.
 
Service to the AAG: Committee on the Status of Women in Geography, 2011-2014; AAG Research Grants Committee, 2010-2013; Nominating Committee, 2003 Election; AAG Commission on College Geography II, 2000-2003; Program Committee, 1982 AAG Annual Meeting; Director, Climate Specialty Group, 1995-1997; Student Awards Committee, Remote Sensing Specialty Group, 1991-1996 (Chair 1993-1996); Honors Committee, Climate Specialty Group, 1987-1995 (Chair 1987-1993); Vice Chair/Chair, Great Plains Rocky Mountain Division of the AAG, 2001-2003.
 
Other Service to Geography: Co-Coordinator/Coordinator, Kansas Geographic Alliance, 2005-present; NSF panelist, various years; NRC Steering Committee, 2003; Co-editor, Papers of Applied Geography Conferences,  2006-2009; Climatology Editor, Physical Geography, 2001-2002; Board of Directors, Applied Geography Conferences, 1994-1997; NCGE Geography in Science Education Task Force, 1992-1994; NCGE Remote Sensing Committee, 1984-1990; Vice Chair/Chair, Geology and Geography Section, AAAS SWARM, 1987-1989; Vice Chair/Chair, Geography Section, Oklahoma Academy of Sciences, 1982-1985.
 
Professional Experience: Professor, Kansas State University, 1995-present (Head 1999-2005); Assoc. Professor to Professor, Indiana State University, 1989-1994; USDA Agricultural Research Service Remote Sensing Specialist, 1988-1994; Associate Professor, New Mexico State University, 1986-1989; Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1984-1986; Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma, 1978-1985.
 
Research and Teaching Interests: climatology (synoptic, variability & change; heat stress indexes; Great Plains), human dimensions of global change (land change science, water, coupled natural and human systems), biogeography (ecological climatology, paleoenvironments), geographic education (GIS and science literacy), applied geography (GIScience, climate, natural resources), geographic thought.
 
Contributions to collaborative research efforts: USAID project on livestock systems in Niger, USDA ARS effort on modeling watershed and lake water quality, NSF-funded Science Education In-Service Program in Physical Geography, NASA & NIGEC Global Change in Local Places (GCLP), NIGEC Models to Predict Livestock Responses to Global Climate Change, NSF-funded Infrastructure to Develop Human Environment Regional Observatories (HERO), NSF-funded LTER Maps and Locals, Kansas NSF EPSCoR-funded Ecological Forecasting, Kansas NSF EPSCoR-funded Climate and Energy, NSF-funded Central Great Plains Climate Change Education Partnership.
 
Publications in: Climatic Change, Physical Geography, Annals of the AAG, Professional Geographer, Journal of Geography, Geocarto International, International Journal of Remote Sensing, PE&RS, Remote Sensing of Environment, Journal of Range Management, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Journal of Climate, Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology, Great Plains Research, Great Plains Quarterly, Geomorphology, Journal of Freshwater Ecology, Lake and Reservoir Management, Hydrobiologica, Papers of Applied Geography Conferences.
 
Statement: Our rapidly changing planet beckons geographers to contribute their knowledge, geovisualization skills, and synthesis capabilities to address the types, scales, magnitudes, rates, and combinations of change. I am increasingly concerned that we seem headed toward what E.O. Wilson referred to as “the bottleneck” without enough of the global population aware of the challenges that society faces in the next few decades. Fortunately, the scholarly community is coming to recognize the wisdom in the traditional regional geography approach and to value the integration and coupling of natural and human systems in research efforts to better under the character of local places/systems. I selected a career in research and teaching so that I could share my understanding of how things work and continue to learn more about the dynamics of our changing planet. It has been a true pleasure to see students “get it” as they’ve come to better understand one or more aspects of the world around us. I was fortunate to have been taken to all of the “lower 48” by the time I was sixteen, with stops at a good number of our national parks. In my youth, I also hiked the 46 high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains and gained a strong appreciation for places that are “forever wild.” During my professional career, I have hoped that what I learned in the wild would guide my behavior, and I have tried to leave each place I’ve visited in better shape as I have moved on to the next location or next challenge. As a life-long learner, I am now intrigued with the challenges facing geographic education, given the existing structures that limit the number of classroom hours available to geography and the seemingly increasing anti-science mindset among factions of the general population. 

If elected to serve as a national councillor, I would bring a mindset of reflection that tries to assess not only what we have been doing well, but also works to identify strategic targets for advancement. We can do well to learn from the success of other scholarly communities, whether they cover the humanities, the social sciences, or the physical sciences. The AAG and professional geographers have a great deal to contribute to influence policy and advance the national conversation regarding our adaptive pathway forward toward a sustainable planet. As a national councilor, my personal challenge would be to leave the AAG in a better place after my term of service. 

BENJAMIN OFORI-AMOAH. Professor, Department of Geography, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan. PhD (Geography, Simon Fraser University, 1990), M.A (Higher Ed Admin. University of Exeter 1984), M.Sc. (Planning, KNUST, Ghana 1980), B.A (Hons.) (Geography with Statistics, University of Ghana 1977).
 
Professional Experience: Chair, Department of Geography, Western Michigan University (2006 – present); Chair, Department of Geography & Geology, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (2001-2006); Assistant Professor to Full Professor, Department of Geography & Geology, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1991-2006). Administrative Associate to Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Wisconsin System (1998). Assistant Registrar, University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana (1980-1983).
 
Teaching and Research Interests: I am an economic geographer and an urban and regional planner with expertise in economic development, location analysis, urban and regional planning practice and applications of geographic information sciences in economic geography and planning. Over the years I have developed and taught courses in economic, urban, and transportation geography, and in urban and regional planning. My research has covered three areas: technological change in economic development, the human factor and development theory, and urban geography with special reference to small cities. My research articles have appeared in Geoforum, Environment and Planning A, The Canadian Geographer, two books I edited, and in 13 book chapters. Ben is also interested in capacity building in Africa, with particular reference to higher education and technological change.
 
Honors, Awards, and Grants: NSF-University of Wisconsin system-Georgia Tech-University of Cape Town Collaboration team (1998); NSF-Spelman College-University of Wisconsin System and Universities in Ghana, Uganda, and South Africa Collaboration (2004-2006); Rockefeller Foundation consultant for assessing the needs of GIS for local government planning in Uganda (2004-2007); Leader and facilitator Quality Assurance Workshop on Instructional Technologies and Pedagogies, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana (2004-2007); Leader and facilitator for the Capacity Building in the Use of GIS for Local Government Planning in Uganda (2004-2008). The Uganda projects were funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, while the other projects were funded by NSF and various local sources.
 
Service to Geography and AAG: Director and Board Member of AAG African Specialty Group (1993-1995), AAG Enhancing Diversity Committee AAG Member (2008 – 2011). Advisory Board Member of the AAG EDGE Program (2010 – 2011). Editorial Board Member for The Canadian Geographer (2006 - present), Editorial Board Member African Geographical Review (2005 – present). Editorial Board Member Review of Human Factor Studies (1995-present); Panel member on Promoting International Collaboration in Social Science Research (2005). Panel Member of the AAG-US State Department Global Dialogue on Emerging Science and Technologies (GDEST) for Africa (2008 – 2010)
 
Statement: It was in elementary school when I realized that I would be a geographer. The facts about distant places thrilled my imagination. As an undergraduate, I became more fascinated with the wide range of applications geography. It was this love that brought me back to geography even after I took a detour into urban and regional planning and higher education administration in graduate studies. I have enjoyed my career as a geographer in my teaching and research, and in helping support fellow geographers in their professional development in my capacity as department chair for almost a decade in two different institutions. In this latter capacity I have also experienced how difficult it is to help parents and prospective students understand that one can actually make a good career by majoring in geography. As councilor, I will devote my efforts to support every initiative at the AAG that will improve information supported with statistics on the prospects for geography majors that can be used by Geography departments for recruitment and promotion purposes. We have a great discipline and we have a great story to tell.
 
ELIZABETH A. WENTZ. Associate Professor, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University (1997-present). PhD. Geography, 1997, Pennsylvania State University; M.A., Geography, 1989, The Ohio State University; B.S., Mathematics, 1987, The Ohio State University; member of the AAG since 1993.
 
Service to the Geography and the AAG: Space-time symposium organizing committee (2010-11), Special panel in honor of Duane F. Marble (2010-11), co-organizer with May Yuan; Marble-Boyle Undergraduate Achievement Award, committee chair (2007-present); Nominating committee (2008); Geographic Information Systems and Science specialty group, three-year term including vice chair, chair, outgoing chair (2005-2008); Graduate Student Representative, Geographic Information Systems Specialty Group (1993-1994).
 
Teaching and Research Interests: My teaching activities focus on graduate research design and proposal writing and undergraduate and graduate courses in geographic information systems and remote sensing. The course on research design and proposal writing is a mandatory course for all first-year graduate students. As a result, I interact closely with students with a range of geography specializations, giving me a broad appreciation for the breadth of geographic research areas and the associated methods. The courses I teach in GIS and remote sensing emphasize the conceptual underpinnings of the technology followed by technical exercises to complement the theory. Like my teaching, my research focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of geographic technologies with particular emphasis on applying these tools to analyze and understand the urban environment. Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, and spatial analysis, provide quantitative methods to measure and analyze human activities and physical processes and the interaction between them. My contributions to understanding these dynamics fall into three main categories: analytic geographic tool development, analysis of the urban environment, and urban remote sensing. Publications in these areas demonstrate that quantifying spatial interactions improves understanding of the spatiotemporal dynamics of urban systems. To accomplish this, I have collaborated with researchers across a network of social, physical, and computational disciplines.
 
Publications: I have authored or co-authored 29 refereed journal articles since 1999 in a variety of geography and interdisciplinary outlets on spatial shape and pattern metrics, urban air quality, residential water, and urban remote sensing. Other publication outlets on these topics include edited book chapters, conference proceedings, and encyclopedia entries.
 
Grants: Research funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and local sources.
 
Statement: My academic training in geography focused primarily on geographic information systems (GIS) and environmental science. My vision of geography, however, merges with the broader scope of our discipline and includes studying land surfaces, physical features, human activities, and specialized methods. As an encompassing discipline with a specialization in ‘location matters,’ geographic solutions provide vital insight into societal problems that are both complex and relevant. Our spatial view of the world, however, provides only one lens. As a researcher at Arizona State University’s “New American University,” in which one aspiration is to “fuse intellectual disciplines,” one of my recent goals has been to engage with urban environmental scientists and urban planners. I am challenged by the intellectual problems my colleagues face and aim to find potential solutions with geographic principles and geospatial tools. If elected, my goal would be to continue to work at the edge of our disciplinary boundary and help others to do the same.
 
BOBBY WILSON. Professor of Geography, University of Alabama; PhD Clark University, 1974; MA Clark University, 1973; BA North Carolina Central University, 1969; Member, American Institute of Certified Planner (AICP), 1984.
 
Research and Teaching Interests: Urban, social, south, planning, political economy, race and consumption.
 
Service to Geography: Member, Commission on Afro-American Geography, AAG, 1986; Editorial Boards, Southeastern Geographer, 1992-96; Annals of the Association of the American Geographers, 1991-94; Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, 1999-2003; Human Geography, 2008-present.
 
Honors and Guest Lecturers: Honored by the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers for research on the social geography of race in Birmingham (2001); Honored by the Jefferson County Historical Commission of Alabama for outstanding achievement in Historic Preservation; Guest Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Minnesota, 2004; Invited lecturer, Faculty, Department of Geography, Dartmouth College, 2004; Invited lecturer, Department of Geography, Bucknell University, 2004.
 
Community Services History: Member, Board of Director, Birmingham Regional Health System Agency; President, Rosedale Community Development Corporation, Birmingham. Board of Zoning Adjustment, Homewood, Alabama; founding president, Board of Directors, Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama; Board of Director, Sloss Furnace Association.
 
Publications: America’s Johannesburg: Industrialization and Racial Transformation in Birmingham (2000); Race and Place in Birmingham: The Civil Rights and Neighborhood Movements (2000). Articles in: Southeastern Geographer, Urban Geography, Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, Journal of Geography, Professional Geographer, Annals of the Association of American Geographers. And book chapters pertaining to race. Book in progress: Consumer Political Economy and Race.
 

Statement:  I once served as a member of the Commission on Afro-American Geography (COMGA) that was formed to increase the participation of African-Americans in the geographical profession and improve the quality of geography taught at historically black colleges. Out of a total of 63 historically black colleges in the Southeast, there was no more than eight in which the AAG was able to develop a sustainable relationship with. Today, geography finds itself in a weaker position with only two historically black colleges offering a major in geography. As a National Councilor I will work to strengthen AAG’s relations with historically black colleges. If the AAG hopes to strengthen and expand the influence of the discipline in the black community, it must find a way to build a more sustainable relationship with historically black colleges that offer geography courses. Such offerings are usually done in combination with history, political science, and in schools or departments of education. Many who teach geography at historically black college have little or no contact with the AAG. To strengthen and expand geography in the black community, the AAG first needs to find a way to establish an ongoing dialogue with those who teach geography at historically black colleges.