Association of American Geographers
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National Councillor

(two to be elected)

John Cromartie

JOHN B. CROMARTIE. Geographer, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ph.D. 1989, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; M.A. 1983, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; B.A. (History) 1976, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. 

Service to AAG: Chair, Population Specialty Group (PSG) Student Paper Awards Committee, 1993-2000; PSG Board of Directors, 1998-2004; PSG President, 2002-03; organized over 25 PSG-sponsored sessions at AAG annual meetings, 1995-2013; Secretary, Rural Geography Specialty Group, 2005-07; Chair, AAG Census Advisory Committee, 1996-1998; AAG representative, Committee of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS), 1996-2004; COPAFS Board of Directors, 1998-2000; panelist, AAG-sponsored sessions on preparing students for federal employment and on federal funding opportunities: 1991, 2009, 2013, and 2015.

Other Service: Editorial Board, Rural Development Perspectives, 1991-94; Secretary for five multi-state research projects sponsored by the Western Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors, 1991-present; Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Metropolitan Area Standards Review Committee, 1999-01 and 2008-11; OMB Interagency Committee on the American Community Survey, 2001-present; Board of Advisors, Rural Policy Research Institute, 2001-03; Committee on the National Broadband Plan, National Economics Council, 2009-10; Chair, Rural Data Working Group, Interagency Committee on Agricultural and Rural Statistics, 2011-present; Governing Board, Western Rural Development Committee, 2014-present; ERS representative, workshop on Rationalizing ERS Rural-Urban Classifications, National Academies of Sciences, Center for National Statistics, 2015.

Awards, Honors and Grants: USDA Secretary’s Honor Award for designing the Atlas of Rural and Small Town America, 2011; 35 USDA Certificates of Merit for outstanding research and service contributions, 1991-2015; co-investigator on four USDA National Research Initiative Research Grants:  1992, 1998, 2002, and 2007; co-investigator on four ERS Cooperative Research Grants: 2004, 2008, 2011, 2012.

Professional Experience: Geographer, GS-12 to GS-15, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1990-present; Visiting Lecturer, Department of Geography, The George Washington University, 2005-2014; Visiting Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Maryland, 1996; Research Associate, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1985-90.

Research and Teaching Interests: I conduct research on U.S. demographic change and its impact on rural people and communities. Most recently I have focused on the causes of return migration and its importance in sustaining isolated rural communities. In addition, I conduct research on rural definitions and have developed new rural-urban classifications used in research and as eligibility criteria in federal programs. I teach undergraduate population geography courses that provide theoretical and policy perspectives on current population issues, empirical grounding in historical and regional population trends, and basic knowledge of demographic data and methods.

Publications: I have authored or co-authored over 50 USDA publications, peer-reviewed journal articles, and book chapters. USDA research reports include: Factors Affecting Former Residents’ Returning to Rural Communities (2015); Baby Boom Migration and Its Impact on Rural America (2009); and New Patterns of Hispanic Settlement in Rural America (2004). Co-authored articles have been published in The Professional Geographer, Journal of Maps, Urban Geography, Southeastern Geographer, and The Geographical Review. I am responsible for building and maintaining web-based research content, including topic pages on rural population and migration, urban-rural classifications, and The Atlas of Rural and Small Town America.

Statement: From its founding, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has built and maintained an integrated system of research, analysis, and education to fulfill its mission. USDA research covers a range of topics of fundamental interest to geographers: markets and trade; conservation and global climate change; food and nutrition; and demography, regional development, and community well-being. External research takes place primarily in land-grant university departments, including many of the strongest geography programs in the country. Working in-house at the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), I have had the good fortune to see my demographic and geographic research contribute to outreach efforts that extend through the land-grant system into almost every county in the country. I have worked to engage geographers in the research mission of USDA, through cooperative research agreements, extramural research funding, and multi-state research projects. As a result, ERS has published research and benefited from strong working relationships with geographers at land-grant institutions and beyond, including colleagues at Arizona, Colorado, Colorado State, Connecticut, Idaho, Middlebury College, Missouri, Montana, Penn State, Utah State, and Washington. If elected as national councillor, I would push to expand this type of research engagement within the federal system. I would work with council members and fellow geographers to raise awareness of research, internship, and employment opportunities in federal agencies and NGOs. I believe these federal institutions are not fully tapping the potential of geography graduates to help analyze and solve critical issues of national concern. In addition, many of us depend heavily on the high quality and easy accessibility of statistics collected by federal agencies such as ERS. I spent 9 years as the AAG representative on the Committee of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, the primary advocacy group on this issue. If elected, I would collaborate with AAG staff to help increase awareness and encourage involvement on critical issues affecting federal statistical programs.  


David DiBiase

DAVID DiBIASE. Director of Education, Esri and Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, Penn State University; M.S. 1988 and B.S. 1986, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Service to the profession: Helping people prepare for worthy careers in applied geography has been an enduring focus of my work. My service activities reflect this focus, including: Reviewer, AAG Proposal for an Advanced Placement test in GIS&T, 2015-present; Academic program adviser for GIS-related certificate and degree programs at several universities and community colleges, ongoing; Content Adviser, Geospatial Revolution project, 2010-11; Facilitator and co-editor, U.S. Department of Labor Geospatial Technology Competency Model, 2010; President, Secretary and Member, Board of Directors, GIS Certification Institute, 2006-09, 2010-12;Panelist, NSF Geography and Regional Science Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants program, 2006-07; Chairperson, Education Committee, UCGIS, 2004-07.

Awards, honors, grants: Horwood Distinguished Service Award, URISA 2012; NSF Ethics Education in Science and Engineering Program, Collaborative Research award (with Dawn Wright and Francis Harvey), 2007-09;Educator of the Year Award, UCGIS 2005; NSF Digital Libraries in the Classroom Program, Innovative Approaches to Learning and Teaching in Geography (with University of California-Santa Barbara), 2003-04; Media Achievement Award, AAG 1999.

Professional experience: Director of Education, Global Business Development, Esri, 2011-present; Director, Dutton e-Education Institute, Penn State University, 2000-11; Instructor/Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, Penn State, 1989-present.

Research and teaching interests: I’m interested in learning design, e-learning, geospatial workforce development and professional ethics. I continue to lead classes and workshops in professionalism and ethics as part of the Penn State Online Master of GIS program. At Esri I’ve introduced a “MOOCs” program that has attracted tens of thousands of adult learners.

Publications: “Thought leadership” has been an explicit or implicit responsibility throughout my career. However, the ways and means by which I’ve shared what I’ve learned have changed since I pivoted from academia to industry. Early on, with colleagues at Penn State, I published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters about cartography and visualization. Later, research articles on GIS education and e-learning in education-oriented journals, and in the co-edited volume Teaching Geographic Information Science and Technology in Higher Education (2011, with Dave Unwin, Ken Foote, and Nick Tate). I led the effort to complete the first edition of the Geographic Information Science and Technology Body of Knowledge, which AAG published in 2006. More recent short articles focus on the professionalization of the geospatial field and its implications for geography and GIS education.

Statement: I am honored and humbled to be considered for the responsibility of National Councillor. I was blessed to discover geography as a student at the University of Wisconsin in the 1980s, to help students discover it as an educator at Penn State in the 1990s and 2000s, and now to help educators learn new ways to apply geography as leader of Esri’s education outreach team.

As the governing body of AAG, the Council is responsible for fiscal affairs, monitoring projects, appointing journal editors and boards, and for helping to assure the Association’s effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability. Beyond that, however, past Councillors have taken it upon themselves to recognize opportunities for the Association to have greater impact, to have the gumption to act upon opportunities, and to follow through. The challenges and opportunities I believe I can help AAG address include:

  • How geography departments and programs can be entrepreneurial without losing their souls
  • How geography can rekindle interest among mass audiences
  • How can geography graduates be more competitive in the job market

The responsibilities of National Councillor align well with my role at Esri. For many years, Esri has been the corporate world’s most passionate champion of geography. I hope that my experience with geography in both academia and industry may bring a useful perspective to the Association and its members.  


Jon Harbor

JON HARBOR. Professor, Director of Digital Education and Associate Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, Purdue University. Ph.D., 1990, University of Washington; M.A., 1984, University of Colorado; B.A., 1982, Cambridge University (U.K.).

Service to Geography and the AAG:  AAG Healthy Departments Committee (Member, 2015-present); AAG Geomorphology Specialty Group (Chair, 2007-08); AAG special sessions organizer, including co-initiating the Human Impacts in Geomorphology sessions; Associate Editor, Anthropocene (2012-2015); Editorial Board member: Physical Geography (2008-2015); The Geographical Journal (U.K.) (2010-2015); Geomorphology (1999-2007); Journal of Mountain Science (2006-2015); Editor for Earth Surface Processes, Earth Science Reviews (2002-2011).  Special Issue editor, Physical Geography, Geomorphology. Adjunct appointments in Geography departments: Stockholm University (Physical Geography, 2014-present); University of Tennessee (2012-15); Kent State University (1990-94).

Awards, Honors, Grants:  Honorary Doctorate, Stockholm University, Sweden, 2015; American Council on Education Fellow, 2014-15; Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow, European Commission, 2013-14; Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2010 – present; Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, U.K., 2010 – present; Distinguished Overseas Visitor, Department of Geography, Durham University, U.K., 2003-4; Fulbright Senior Scholar, Department of Geography, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 2000-2001. Purdue University: Provost’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Faculty Mentor, 2013 (top university award for graduate education); Murphy Teaching Award, 2000 (top university award for undergraduate education); Inducted in to Purdue University’s “Book of Great Teachers”, 2008; Over fifty external grants as PI or Co-PI for research and education, including NSF (Geography, Polar Programs, Graduate Education, Undergraduate Education, Geosciences, Research on Learning), NASA, EPA, USDA, and National Geographic.

Professional Experience: Leadership training includes: Society of College and University Planning (SCUP), Planning Institute, 2014-15; American Council on Education national higher education leadership development program, 2014-15; AAG Department Leadership workshop 2012. Purdue University leadership roles include: Founding and Interim Director, Global Sustainability Institute, 2009-13; Head, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, 2010-13; Associate Vice President for Research, 2007-08; Founding Co-Director, Discovery Learning Research Center, 2003-05; Associate Dean for Research, College of Science, 2003-04; Associate Professor, 1994-2000; Professor 2000-06; 2007-present. Other: Assistant Professor, Kent State University, 1990-94; Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Geography, University of Colorado Denver, 2006-07; Senior Associate Scientist, Ebasco Environmental, 1989-90. Currently Purdue AGEP Professor and member of the Purdue ADVANCE advisory board and the Salish Kootenai College hydrology program external advisory board.

Research and Teaching Interests: Geomorphology: currently co-leading international research teams focused on paleoglaciology in central Asia and Antarctica using cosmogenic radionuclide methods.  Environment: Modeling, assessment, and management of impacts of land use and climate change on water resources and nonpoint source pollution, with current and recent collaborative projects in Puerto Rico, Guatemala and China. Education Research: Assessing differential graduate student outcomes in a middle school outreach program. Current teaching: Introductory course in geography (fully online), senior undergrad and grad course in glacial geomorphology (online collaborative hybrid with study abroad), and a grad course in K-12 engagement (service learning).

Publications: Author/coauthor of two books and over 130 articles in journals in the fields of physical geography, education research, environmental science, and higher education leadership, including: Professional Geographer; Annals AAG; Journal of Geography; Physical Geography; Progress in Physical Geography; Nature; Nature Geosciences; Geomorphology; Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management; Innovative Higher Education; International Journal of Higher Education; Multicultural Perspectives; International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; Evaluation and Program Planning; Journal of Research in Science Teaching; International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology; International Journal of Climatology; Journal of the American Water Resources Association; Water Resources Research; Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management; Journal of the American Planning Association.

Statement: The leadership community of the AAG draws upon the perspectives of councillors with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and institutional settings; this diversity is essential for planning and decision making. The perspectives I bring to AAG leadership roles have been shaped by: a career largely at a university that does not have a standalone Geography Department (which provides challenges of relative isolation as well as opportunities for much broader engagement with other disciplines); a wide range of leadership roles in research, teaching, interdisciplinary programs, and online learning; extensive work and training with geographers outside of the U.S., and; a deep commitment to fostering the engagement, learning, and career success of students and faculty from a wide range of backgrounds. Geography is transitioning to a position of much greater visibility because of the relevance of our research to societal concerns and policy decisions, increasing understanding of and access to good spatial technologies, and the key role of geographers and geographic principles and methodologies in transdisciplinary team approaches to addressing global grand challenges. For example, the recent focus on the Anthropocene, which will be highlighted at the upcoming AAG annual meeting, draws upon the third pillar of Geography, human-environment interaction, and provides a framework in which academics and practitioners in our community are contributing leadership and integrating perspectives for knowledge production and application (the first major journal with this focus, Anthropocene, was launched by a geographer). This visibility provides the potential for a promising future for students, faculty, and practitioners in all areas of Geography, but as a community we must leverage this to address the funding and legitimacy challenges that some Geography Departments and standalone geographers have been facing in academia. Another ongoing transition that can significantly enhance the impact and role of AAG members, and that needs to be a stronger focus for discussion at AAG meetings, is being driven by increasing research and assessment in digital education; there is considerable potential for geographers to have a wider and deeper impact by using a portfolio of teaching strategies, including embracing technologies and social media that can make higher education more accessible, more learner-centric, and more affordable. The AAG meetings, journals, and newsletter are critical to supporting members’ needs for information sharing, community, professional growth, and critical interactions, and we need to ensure that they include a key focus on emerging research and education themes. I see service as a national councillor as an opportunity to give back to a community that has been a central support for me and my students over several decades, and an opportunity to play a role in developing and implementing strategies that leverage emerging trends to support the interests and aspirations of all AAG members. 


Cathleen McAnneny

CATHLEEN MCANNENY. Professor of Geography at the University of Maine Farmington (1993-present); Chair Department of Social Sciences and Business (2005-2008); Ph.D. in Geography, Michigan State (1995); M.A. in Geography, Ohio University (1990); B.S. Environmental Geography, Ohio University (1988). Member of the AAG since 1989.

Service to Geography and the AAG: Chair, Meridian Book Award Committee (2015), member (2012-present); Regional Councilor to the AAG from the NESTVAL region (2007- 2010); Co-Chair of NESTVAL local arrangements committee (October 2004); President of the New England St. Lawrence Valley Geographical Society (2003-2005); Vice President of the New England St. Lawrence Valley Geographical Society (2001-2003); State Representative to NESTVAL (1997-2001);  K-12 Outreach Coordinator, NESTVAL (1996-1999); Program Chair for NESTVAL (1999);  Coordinator of the Maine Geographic Alliance (2000-present); Member of the Steering Committee of the Maine Geographic Alliance (1993-2000).

Grants: I have received an NSF ILI grant and was a co-PI on an NSF CCLI grant. As the Coordinator of the Maine Geographic Alliance, I have received funding from the National Geographic Education Foundation. Other grants include a University of Maine System Diversity grant and a Campus Compact Grant for Service Learning

Teaching and Research: My teaching strong reflects my interest in the human-environment connection and more specifically around resource distribution and access. Living and working in a rural setting makes these issues very real to our students. Throughout my career I have worked with my colleagues on other campuses and disciplines to build connections and make available resources to students. Research and internship opportunities with state and local government, as well as with the private sector have enhanced the educational experience of my own students, as well as those through the Maine System. My work with the Alliance focuses on bringing resources and expertise to the K-12 classroom, so that all of our students have the opportunity to experience geography at the highest level. This includes developing professional development for in-service and pre-service educators, so that they have the skills and theoretical background necessary to take advantage of Geo-spatial technologies and to prepare their students for university or the workplace. Concern about resource availability and access have also informed my research over the last few years, specifically access to oral healthcare in rural communities.

Statement: The prominence of Geography as a discipline has increased over the last several years. The growth of the AAG is certainly an indication of the visibility and importance of our discipline. If the Association and the discipline are to continue their growth and maintain their vitality the experience and expertise of all its members should be represented. Large Ph.D.-granting programs and small B.S. or B.A. programs, as well as colleagues at community colleges all contribute to the growth of the discipline and the AAG. As a national councillor I would like to work to build stronger connections among the institutions, so that we are working to ensure the viability geography at all levels of higher education. As the AAG establishes relationships with NIH and others, we should also take seriously our role as educators and establish close ties with our colleagues in education, so that the next generation of K-12 educators are prepared to teach geography with all of its exciting content, technology and interconnections.