Association of American Geographers
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Vice President

(one to be elected)


John FrazierJOHN W. FRAZIER. Professor of Geography and SUNY-Distinguished Service Professor, Binghamton University. Ph.D., Department of Geography, Kent State University; M.A., B.A., Kent State University.

Professional Experience: Professor of Geography, Binghamton University; Appointed by SUNY Chancellor to SUNY-wide Distinguished Professorship (2011 to present) and to Chancellor’s Academy (2011-present). Former Chair of Geography Department; Current Director, Binghamton University GIS Core Facility that provides GIS and mapping consultation services to the entire campus. Also corporate consultant to federal government and to private sector corporations for decades.

Service to Geography: Served as a National Councilor of AAG (1988-1990); appointed to National Search Committee for AAG Executive Director, 1984 and 1990; elected to National Council of American Geographical Society (2003-2008) Served on National Research Council, Fellow of American Geographical Society (2018), created two national/international geography conferences (Applied Geography, 1978, and Race, Ethnicity and Place, 2000).

Awards and Honors: SUNY Awards: Provost Award for “Outstanding Mentor for Undergraduate Students” (2018), “Best Arts and Sciences Teacher of Graduate Students” (2016), “Outstanding Faculty Recognition Award”, Equal Opportunity Program (2013). AAG Awards: “AAG EGSG Scholar Award” (2016), “AAG Ronald Abler Distinguished Service Award”, “AAG Enhancing Diversity Award” (2009), James Anderson Medal for Applied Geography” (1996).

Research and Teaching: At the undergraduate level, I have developed many courses, including “Multicultural Geographies of the United States”, (freshman and sophomores, enrollment 240 students) and “Applied Urban Research” (a capstone for seniors). At the graduate level, my courses include “Geographic Theory, Research and Writing” and “Applied Urban Research,” which emphasizes community engagement, team work, and an applied research approach. Most recently, I conduct an ongoing project related to opportunities and challenges in local economic development and sustainability using ArcGIS and Story Maps to present issues, gains, and patterns to stakeholders.

My classroom instruction and mentoring focus on my research interest in race-ethnicity, urban and economic development, and community engagement with stakeholders, applied geography emphasizing applied GIS and geo-technologies.

I have generated more than $1 million in sponsored funds and contracts, including work for EPA and HUD, as well as local and regional agencies, and I was the CO-PI for an NSF-ILI grant. I am the author, co-author, or editor of 6 books: Applied Geography, Prentice Hall, (1982); An Introduction to Scientific Geographic Research, W. C. Brown Publishers(1991); Race and Place Inequalities in Urban American, Westview Press (2003); Multicultural Geographies of the US, Global Academic Press, (2003); Race, Ethnicity and Place in a Changing America, SUNY Press (3 editions, (2006,2011,2016); and The African Diaspora in the US and Canada, SUNY Press ( 2010).

I have published numerous articles and book chapters on related topics, including in The Professional Geographer, Journal of Geography, and Economic Geography. I also was appointed tothe National Research Council (1998) and contributed to the published volume that followed (Licensing Geographic Data and Services).

Public Engagement: Despite the historical success of applied geographers in engaging public and private agencies and groups, relatively few academics pursue applied geography because, historically, the academy affords little “credit” for applied work. More recently, however, academy administrators, professional schools and Arts and Sciences Scholars have embraced applied research to make academic degrees more meaningful and more related to potential employment for graduates.

For the last three years, I have worked with our campus President and led a team of geography faculty, staff, and students in an urban-economic redevelopment project in our local community whose purpose is to establish a baseline and to monitor changes as the area undergoes urban revitalization. Significant to this effort, we include both local data and citizen and other stakeholders’ concerns and hopes as the revitalization effort evolves. This public and private engagement includes homeowners, renters (including off campus college students), planners, politicians, the poor, small businesses and others. The geographic analysis involves geo-technologies, urban geography and urban planning, imagery and drones, interviewing, data management, and other skills best addressed by team work, with community engagement at multiple levels. We address many issues, including the link between gentrification and displacement. The analysis includes the micro-geographic scale to observe the specific issues, street by street, and combines drone flights, maps, street level images, and narration. It balances emphasis on hopes and successes with serious challenges.

This is just one example where geographers and geography students can participate in teams with faculty and staff, while participating in community engagement. There are many opportunities where geo-technologies and geographic knowledge and data prove useful to communities and rewarding for geographers at all levels. There are a wide range of opportunities for community engagement.

Statement: Despite major gains under strong leadership in recent decades, such as improving financial stability and improved visibility, serious challenges lie ahead for the AAG and our discipline. The challenges include finding ways to strengthen some undergraduate-only departments across the United States, while maintaining a strong visibility of high quality graduate and Ph.D. programs. While playing important roles in transdisciplinary research and teaching, we must not abandon the core of our discipline, to remain visible and valued as Geography.

As a discipline, Geography must develop concrete plans and strategies to improve inclusion at all levels. We must acknowledge the expense and effort required to achieve the goals. We must also define clearly the relationship between disciplinary goals and education and the employability of our bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. graduates. This effort must focus on identifiable and recognizable outputs and how they fit the needs of our complex 21st Century society. In this process, we must avoid single mindedness; we do not seek a single-item or single-focus panacea, but rather, we must develop and employ strategies that utilize our strongest dimensions.

This action will require resources. We must define carefully how we accomplish new goals, without jeopardizing our current solid financial stability. We must carefully allocate resources to achieve a greater good for our discipline. Above all, we must create funded strategies with definable, measured outcomes to bring a much-improved ethnic balance to our classrooms, degree holders, and to the professoriate. These are concrete needs that must be fulfilled to further strengthen our discipline. I hope to work with colleagues across the educational spectrum and public and private sectors to make these realities.


Daniel A. Griffith

DANIEL A. GRIFFITH. Ashbel Smith Professor, Geography and Geospatial Information Sciences Program (G&GISP), U of Texas at Dallas (UTD). Ph. D. (U. of Toronto, 1978); M.S. (The Pennsylvania State U., 1985); M.A., B.S., Indiana U. of Pennsylvania (1972, 1970). 

Research and Teaching Interests: Research spatial statistics, quantitative and qualitative spatial sampling, spatial interaction, spatial optimization, urban public health. Teaching spatial statistics, quantitative geography, urban economics, geospatial research design, location theory. 

Publications: (Co-)authored 20 books/monographs—including the AAG published Spatial Regression Analysis of the PC (1993) and Spatial Autocorrelation (1987)—173 articles in major refereed journals—including in the Annals and in The Professional Geographer—17 encyclopedia entries, 26 book chapters, 35 conference proceedings papers, and 66 secondary publications. Selected publication H-indices (2018): Web of Science = 26, Scopus = 32, and Google Scholar = 52. Articles appear in computer science, economics, epidemiology/public health, geography and GIScience, mathematics, regional science, and statistics journals. Besides AAG outlets, geography publications appear in 22 other journals (e.g., Geographical Analysis). 

Major Grants: Geography National Science Foundation (NSF G&RS/GSS; 1983-2020, totaling $2 million). Non-geography (totaling $5.3 million) NSF, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Leverhulme Trust, USDA-NASS, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, NATO Scientific Affairs, Canadian Embassy. 

Service to the AAG/Geography: AAG Publications Committee (2015-2018), Task Force updating “Ethics Statement of the AAG” (2009), Article Award Committee (2001-2003), MM&QM (now SAM) Specialty Group (SG) chair (1987-1988), MM&QM SG (1989-1991) and Microcomputer SG (1993-1996) board member, Annals of the American Association of Geographers editorial board (2014-present, 1985-87). Other Geocomputation 2015 conference co-chair, UTD G&GISP Assistant Unit Head (2005-2015), NSF Geography & Spatial Sciences panel member (2013-2015), Geographical Analysis editor (2009-2015; associate editor, 2002-2008; editorial board member, 3 terms), International Geographical Union Commission on Modeling Geographical Systems Steering Committee member (2008-2017), Syracuse U. Department of Geography chair (1995-1997), NY State Program in Geographic Information and Analysis Deputy Director (1989-90), Graduate Studies Director (Syracuse U., 1990-92; SUNY/Buffalo). 

Other Relevant Service: International Spatial Accuracy Research Association (ISARA) Steering Committee & Medal Awards Panel chairs (2014-2018 & 2011-2014), RSAI Councilor at Large (2015-17), Spatial Statistics 2013 conference chair, Mathematical Reviews invited contributor (2012-present), USEPA FIRFA Scientific Advisory Panel member (2011), North American Regional Science Council President (1996-97), Syracuse U. Interdisciplinary Program in Statistics Director (1991-92 & 1993-95 Conference scientific committees Spatial Accuracy, IGU, Spatial Statistics, GIScience, Spatial Econometrics Association, StatGIS Research proposal reviews NSF (MMS, Small Business Innovation Research, joint Divisions of Mathematical and Behavioral & Cognitive Sciences, NSF/EPA Environmental Statistics, and Geosciences, Geography and Mathematical Sciences) Current editorial boards Geo-spatial Information Science, J. of Geographical Systems, Spatial Demography, Spatial Statistics, URISA. 

Professional Experience: Permanent positions UTD (2005-present), U. of Miami (2003-2005), Syracuse U. (1988-2003), SUNY/Buffalo (1978-1988), Ryerson U. (1975-1978). Affiliate faculty positions U. of S. Florida (Global Health, 2015-preent), U. of Alberta (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, 2015-present), SUNY/Environmental Sciences and Forestry (1992-2003). Visiting positions Wuhan U. (China, 2011-present), U. of Jyväskylä (Finland, 2006), U. of Cambridge (2004), U. of Rome "La Sapienza" (1995), Erasmus U./Rotterdam (1992), Oregon State U. (1990-1993) Consultant Ministerio de Educación del Perú (2000-01), Syracuse Research Corporation (1998-99, 2003). 

AAG/Geography Awards, Honors: AAG Fellow (2019), Distinguished Research Honors (2010), inaugural J. Warren Nystrom doctoral dissertation award (1980), Research Grant (1979). AAG SGs SAM outstanding service award (2013), Microcomputer software prize (2nd, 1997; 1st, 1994) Other Advanced Forum on GIS and Remote Sensing colloquium, Peking U. (2018), Arthur Getis Lecture, San Diego State U. (2011), Pennsylvania Geographical Society distinguished geographer of the year (1999), inaugural U. of Toronto Department of Geography outstanding alumnus (1995), Gamma Theta Upsilon (1969). 

Other Major Awards, Honors: Fellow status University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS; 2018), Royal Society of Canada (2017), UCGIS research award (2017), ISARA Founder’s Award (2016), American Statistical Association (2015), American Association for the Advancement of Science ( 2011), Regional Science Association International (2009), Spatial Econometrics Association (2007), John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2001), American Statistical Association/USDA-NASS (1998). Recognitions 57 keynote lectures, Fulbright Senior Specialist (U. of Alberta; 2015, 2005), Doctor of Science, honoris causa (Indiana U. of Pennsylvania, 2006), Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research visiting researcher (Rostock, Germany; 2005), Leverhulme Trust (UK) visiting professorship (2004), Sigma Xi (1996), Fulbright Research Fellow (Canada, 1992/93), UTD/EPPS outstanding teaching Comet award (2013/14 & 2014/15), Indiana U. of Pennsylvania outstanding alumnus (1982). Kappa Delta Pi (1972).

Statement: As an undergraduate mathematics major, I was drawn to Geography because of its interdisciplinary and synthesizing nature. I pursued a Geography undergraduate minor, and then M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. I also have earned a M.S. in Statistics. While pursuing this synergistic career trajectory, I have published papers not only in Geography and GIScience outlets, but also in journals of six cognate disciplines (see my preceding Publications statement). I have tried to serve as an informal Geography ambassador to its cognate disciplines with a professional goal of demonstrating that geographers can do many things, and do them extremely well. My transdisciplinary work has earned me not only awards from Geography and GIScience, but also a number of prestigious distinctions from many of these other disciplines (see my preceding list of honors), demonstrating, as other geographers have done, that geographers can make contributions that are important to both their discipline and other disciplines. 

The privilege of serving the AAG as Vice President would allow me to build on this and associated AAG efforts, initiatives, and priorities, working with the AAG leadership and members to promote Geography in different arenas. First, I would advocate strong interaction with cognate disciplines, reflecting AAG interdisciplinary initiatives such as “Geography and Humanities” and “Geography and Health.” My publications in prominent economics, epidemiology/public health, mathematics, regional science, and statistics journals signify some of my success in promoting Geography’s integrative perspective about space, place, and nature/environment to these cognate disciplines. Furthermore, my service on National Science Foundation review panels beyond Geography and Spatial Sciences, and collaborating with anthropologists on a New York State artifacts project, provided me with additional experience in this context. I firmly believe that a much broader audience in the academy, in government, in industry, and in society needs exposure to Geography’s very best scholarship, and I endeavor to advance the discipline along these lines. 

My career goals also go beyond building bridges to cognate fields by pursuing a parallel effort of spanning geography’s disparate subdisciplines. My second advocacy would be to inspire more discourse and mutual understanding among these groups. Like most of my colleagues, for many years I have been a member of a range of AAG Specialty Groups (SGs); reflecting my desired to span subdisciplines, my memberships have been in both quantitative (e.g., GISS and SAM) and non-quantitative (e.g., Qualitative Research) SGs. In addition, I also was supportive of establishing a Caribbean SG, which ties in with more recent AAG initiatives concerning Puerto Rico becoming a part of the AAG regional groups. As chair of the Syracuse University (SU) Geography Department, I helped bolster its cultural geography research cluster. I also have participated in sessions co-sponsored by, for example, the Cultural Geography SG (e.g., “Geographies of Comics and Graphic Novels I,” 2014 Tampa). When the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced its 2013 conference theme, “The beauty and benefits of science,” I organized a highly successful session about GIS and art, and presented a comparison between Susie Rosmarin’s paintings and a specific spatial statistical visualization technique. This particular experience is in keeping with the AAG’s geohumanities journal efforts. 

Third, I would assertively promote geography not only in the academy, but also in government, in the private sector, and in society. My experience to date here includes in-house spatial analysis research at the USDA, working with the Onondaga County Health Department to address pediatric lead poisoning in Syracuse, NY, developing a spatial demography course for the Max Plank Institute for Demographic Research, consulting for the Syracuse Research Corporation about a range of environmental concerns, and publicizing the geography of lead poisoning in two Syracuse newspaper articles. All of these outreach activities interface, in part, with the AAG’s educational policy initiatives, emphasizing that geography matters. 

As AAG VP, I would seek to couple these various ventures with AAG leadership and member efforts in order to help our organization and discipline benefit from interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary opportunities that will continue to foster the discipline’s contributions to science and society. 


Amy Lobben

AMY LOBBEN. Professor, Department of Geography, University of Oregon (2015 to present). Ph.D., Department of Geography, Michigan State University (1999), M.S., Department of Geography, Georgia State University (1996), B.S., Geography, Georgia State University (1991).

Professional and Educational Background: Associate Professor, University of Oregon (2009–2015), Assistant Professor, University of Oregon (2004–2009), Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Central Michigan University (1999–2004).

Service to the Discipline: Leadership: Department Head – Geography, University of Oregon (2014-2017); Secretary for UCGIS, University Consortium of Geographic Information Science (2015-2016); Education Committee for UCGIS (2014-2015); Co-Chair, Commission for Maps and Mapping for the Blind and Partially Sighted, International Cartographic Association (2007-2009); United States National Committee for the International Cartographic Association (2001-2006); Past Chair, Chair, Vice-Chair, Association of American Geographers Cartography Specialty Group (2005-2008). Federal Funding Agencies: NSF scientific review panelist (Geography and Spatial Science, Cyber-Human Systems, SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellowships, Discovery Research K-12, Research in Disabilities Education) (2005-2019); NSF site review – Spatial Intelligence Learning Center (2011); AAG Initiative for an NIH-Wide Infrastructure (2011). Conferences: Organizing Committee for COSIT, Conference on Spatial Information Theory (2015), Organizing and Liaison Committee for the International Conference on Information Visualization (2002-2005); Organized many sessions for the annual AAG conference. Journals: Editorial Board for Journal of Spatial Information Science (2018 to present); With Sara Fabrikant, co-Editor, special issue, Cartographica (2009); Editorial Board, Cartographic Perspectives (2007-2009);

Research and Teaching: My career goal is to advance environmental accessibility for all people, and a great deal of my work is with people with disabilities. My philosophy is grounded by a belief that we must produce data science knowledge for social equity. As a researcher and teacher, I aim to: a) develop better knowledge of how people with disabilities encounter and process geospatial information in the world, b) catalyze the geography and GIScience community to develop tools that are meaningfully and truly accessible, and c) transform our built environment to make space for a more diverse and inclusionary public.

Broadly speaking, I bridge human geography and geographic information science. My research examines how the human brain acquires, processes, and makes decisions about geographic information, with a focus on neurogeography and disability/accessibility. Within neurogeography, I use traditional behavioral methods as well as neuroscience and neuroimaging to study the behavioral and neurological correlates of geospatial information processing. I believe that we gain a truer understanding of underlying geospatial constructs and abilities when we measure the same tasks in multiple ways across multiple populations of varying abilities, so much of my research is with diverse populations.

I drive myself to push boundaries and my philosophy for teaching and mentoring with graduate students as well as early career faculty is to strive for the highest bar possible. I aim to provide support and nurturing along with honesty. Like research, educational philosophies as well as programmatic structures should always be critically evaluated. Along that vein and recognizing the need and opportunity for a growing field of spatial data science, my colleague Chris Bone and I developed one of the first spatial data science programs/majors in a geography department in the United States. In addition, we authored an introductory geospatial technologies textbook, Our Digital Earth, an online platform that integrates text with hands-on activities with real-time data. To complement the new SDS program, we conceptualized and developed a new faculty cluster hire in spatial data science for social equity.

Statement: The AAG has for decades worked to identify ways to keep our field current, to catalyze programs, and to keep the discipline at the forward curve of innovation. But in this age when information, knowledge, disciplines, socioeconomic conditions, and political winds evolve at a dizzying pace, the race to remain relevant has turned into a sprint. Relevancy is, I believe, the issue we must focus on throughout geography.

If elected, the major roles I would take on reflect the key challenges that I see facing our relevancy as a discipline:

1. Advocacy–to protect geography (and other scholarly disciplines) from the active attempts to dismantle research and discredit scholars and scholarship and to put the public back into the public trust of higher education.

2. Re-envisioning geography–so that we continue to re-invent ourselves to address changing trends in society, higher education and the growing applications for geography in the government, private, and non-profits sectors.

3. Nurturing the pipeline–to ensure that there is a next generation of geographers to succeed us and keep geography as vibrant discipline.

Signals from Washington suggest a rough road ahead for geography. The recent attacks on the validity of research, the move to discontinue data collection on topics ranging from hydrologic data to residential disparities, the active dismantling of research data sets, the personal attacks on scholars, and the continued overall trend in the reduction of federal investment in research and true public education are all alarming developments that AAG is fighting and should continue to actively combat. If elected, one of my major roles will be to provide strong and thoughtful advocacy for geography, which will require maintaining, strengthening, and extending our relationships and partnerships with key allies in governmental agencies and commercial sectors as well as in academia.

A second key objective will be to continue to strategically re-envision geography and the role we play in advancing scholarly knowledge and societal needs. Geography, as a discipline, is thousands of years old; a history that both confines and enriches us. This historical moment, however, perhaps like no other, is not a time to remain confined; we must be flexible and agile and move in new ways. The good news is that if we can move beyond our tightly held traditions, geography is particularly well suited to being adaptable; our discipline fluidly transitions between natural science, social science, and humanities. Geographers are, by nature and nurture, synthetic and robust thinkers, strengths that position us well as we rethink our academic programs and our activities in government and industry. In addition to traditional discipline-based curricula and employment sectors, we now see degrees and jobs in: environmental studies, geohealth, international studies, ethnic studies, data science, and more–all are geography. I would like to work with AAG and international partners to catalyze and exploit our strengths and develop intellectual communities, tangible collaborations, and educational programs all within geography and around key societal issues and trends in research, education, and employment.

Third, I will want the AAG to continue to actively support and celebrate graduate students and early career faculty through inclusive and responsive programs. But to build a future pipeline, we need to move beyond these groups: we most focus to a much greater extent on the undergraduate geographer. Again, this should be an area of strength–geography is tremendously well positioned to attract undergraduate students for both academic and career reasons. Building the student body will enhance geography’s position on university campuses and increase our influence in the employment sector and society. I would like to be part of the leadership that further develops, systematizes, and disseminates effective professional development programs that attract undergraduate students who are seeking meaningful careers and have a passion for making a difference in or world.

Finally, diversity and inclusion are not mere catchwords; they are a necessary condition that requires normalization if Geography wants to remain truly excellent and cutting edge. On the top of my to-do list at AAG would be to strive to make geography a leader among disciplines in achieving true equity and inclusion, broadly applied to all human existence. As a parent of a son with developmental and intellectual disabilities, I have spent a considerable amount of time over the past 18 years identifying and then working toward breaking-down barriers to equity and inclusion. There are many pathways to achieving inclusion, from top-down programs to grassroots initiatives. David Kaplan has outlined several key steps that can broaden participation and enhance inclusion. In addition to those and borrowing from my personal experiences, I would like to work on making AAG accessible to the growing population of people with disabilities. Simple, but important, steps such as providing all materials in accessible format, which may include tactile maps of venue, Braille or screen-reader friendly conference program, and accessible presentation resources in session rooms would not only enhance the inclusion and accessibility for people with disabilities, but would establish an accessibility culture from the website down to the individual session rooms. Finally, AAG can address known barriers to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. But, in order to build a broad culture, we need to know what we don’t know. I would like to lead efforts to collect empirical data from members and prospective members that would identify the barriers to inclusion and then we can work toward removing them.

Geography, led by the AAG, is particularly well positioned as a global leader to recruit new students, advance research and innovation, and address major social issues of our time. AAG should continue to be the leading authority in our field and expand its role as a driver of innovation, judiciously identifying emerging challenges, needs, and opportunities.