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Graduation photo from Fastily, Wikimedia Commons 

Thriving in a Time of Disruption in Higher Education

San Francisco, California

March 29 – April 2, 2016

For its 2016 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, the AAG will highlight a Featured Theme called Thriving in a Time of Disruption in Higher Education.

Context: This is a challenging time to be engaged in scholarship in higher education. Shrinking state budgets and rising tuition raise concerns about the affordability - and importance - of college. Graduate education is facing serious criticism and evaluation; is the academy preparing students valued by society or merely reproducing itself? Skepticism by some members of Congress about the value of social and behavioral sciences threaten research funding at the same time universities are placing increased importance on grantsmanship for promotion and tenure. A cornerstone of education, tenure, is under attack. Fundamental notions of shared governance and academic freedom are under reconsideration. Increasingly our status as individual scholars and collective departments is measured and benchmarked by external organizations using criteria we may not even be aware of—or value.

Graduates throwing caps in the air by Sbmt, Wikimedia CommonsThis plays out in different ways for the discipline of geography. Eight actions emerge as key to healthy geography departments: teach, promote, build, innovate, nurture, manage, reflect, and envision. Departments must have a clear (and shared) vision of what and who they are and be prepared to work to build toward that vision. This may require innovation, a euphemism for change, something that is never easy. Departments need leaders who manage effectively and who are willing to nurture their colleagues, enabling them to succeed across different stages of their careers. Healthy geography departments care about recruiting and retaining students and majors through compelling teaching that enriches the lives of the students they touch. Strong departments build through fund raising, nurturing alumni, and entrepreneurship. Finally, healthy departments take the time to reflect, to assess, plan, and refocus as needed, together.


The Annual Meeting will open with the AAG Opening Session, Sarah Bednarz' Presidential Plenary: "Thriving in a Time of Disruption in Higher Education,"

which is scheduled on Tuesday, 3/29/2016, from 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM in Continental 5, Hilton Hotel, Ballroom Level

AAG President Sarah Bednarz has organized her presidential plenary into a moderated discussion around the eponymously named theme, "Thriving in a Time of Disruption in Higher Education," with a focus on strengths and opportunities for geography in higher education.

Welcoming remarks by Douglas Richardson, American Association of Geographers
Panelists include:
Jenny Zorn, Provost, California State University-Bakersfield
Elizabeth Wentz, Dean of Social Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University
Kristopher N. Olds, Department Chair and Professor, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kavita Pandit, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, Georgia State University
Yonette Thomas, Senior Researcher, AAG, and former Associate Vice President for Research Compliance, Howard University


Other organized sessions include:


8:00 AM 2102 Education for Spatial Citizenship. Including the political domain in geomedia supported education
10:00 AM 2202 Higher Education Planning, Culture, and Outcomes
1:20 PM 2402 GIS in Curriculum
3:20 PM 2502 Higher Education Program & Curriculum A
3:20 PM 2542 International Geography Organizations: Priorities and Initiatives for Research and Education
5:20 PM 2602 Higher Education Program & Curriculum B


8:00 AM 3123 Higher Education Pedagogy
10:00 AM 3203 Bringing GeoCapabilities to Geography in Higher Education
10:00 AM 3226 Continuing Conversations: Strategies for the Promotion of Positive Mental Health in the Academy.
1:20 PM 3403 Appreciating Geography as Powerful Disciplinary Knowledge in Schools (A)
1:20 PM 3411 The new 'normal': states of mental being, graduate students and the Anglo-American academy (GSAG Plenary Presentation)
1:20 PM 3426 It's called a life: Moving beyond work-life balance to achieve more care-full universities
3:20 PM 3503 Appreciating Geography as Powerful Disciplinary Knowledge in Schools (B)
5:20 PM 3603 Appreciating Geography as Powerful Disciplinary Knowledge in Schools (C)


8:00 AM 4102 Advanced Placement Geographic Information Science and Technology: A Progress Report
8:00 AM 4127 Careers and Professional Development Paper Session
10:00 AM 4225 Interdisciplinarity in Graduate Training in New Institutional Landscapes
1:20 PM 4405 Textbooks and Educational Media in Geography Education
3:20 PM 4505 Interdisciplinarity in Geography Education


2:00 PM 5433 Blended Learning - Teaching Geography Online and Face-to-Face
4:00 PM 5533 Education as the Practice of Freedom? : Troubling spaces in the Neoliberal University


(more forthcoming)


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