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NCGE Recognizes AAG for Contributions to Geography Education

November 01, 2012

The National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE), now in its 97th year, continues to promote and celebrate geography teaching and learning. Each year, exemplary educators, mentors, geography education researchers, and advocates are recognized for work that enhances the status and quality of geography education.

This year, AAG staff received two awards at the NCGE Conference. The President’s Award, selected by NCGE President, Eric Fournier, was given to Douglas Richardson (Executive Director), Michael Solem (Director of Educational Affairs), and Susan Heffron (Senior Project Manager for Geography Education). Heffron was present to receive the honor at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday, October 6, 2012. This award recognizes the range and types of educational initiatives developed by AAG staff and in joint collaboration with partnering organizations.

NCGE President’s AwardJoseph Stoltman (right) presents the President’s Award to Susan Heffron Gallagher, AAG’s Senior Project Manager for Geography Education, and other AAG staff.

Joseph Stoltman, who accepted the award for Doug Richardson, also spoke on his behalf. “With so many deserving recipients for honors in the NCGE’s constellation of leading lights, it is particularly humbling to receive a Presidential Award from you for the work that AAG has done over the years in this area. I would like to thank Michael Solem and Susan Gallagher-Heffron for the great privilege of working with them for nearly a decade now, and for all that they and many other AAG staff have achieved while working together with you the NCGE. When it comes to moving geography education forward, it is clear we are all in this together. I look forward to the honor of continuing working with each of you in the future on this most important task. Thank you very much.”

At the Awards Ceremony, Fournier recognized the AAG for all its work on behalf of geography education. He said geography education initiatives led by the AAG have combined to make crucial contributions towards a more geographically literate society. Fournier also noted the AAG’s leadership in crafting and promoting the AAG Resolution Supporting K–12 Geography Education (

AAG’s geography education initiatives range from careers resources to teaching modules (national and international) to professional ethics materials that span K-12 and teacher education, undergraduate/ graduate, and departmental and professional development. Examples of ongoing and recently completed projects include:

The second award, in the category of Journal of Geography Awards - Best Article for Geography Program Development (tie), was presented to two authoring teams. Jaehyung Yu (Chungnam National University), Niem Tu Huynh (Association of American Geographers), and Thomas Lee McGehee (Texas A&M University - Kingsville) received the award for their paper “Vertical Integration of Geographic Information Sciences: A Recruitment Model for GIS Education” (Yu, Huynh, & McGehee, The Journal of Geography, 2011).

Journal of Geography AwardsNiem Tu Huynh, Senior Researcher at AAG (left) and Jaehyung Yu of Chungnam National University (right) show the Journal of Geography Awards presented by Thomas Lee McGehee (center).

The paper details an innovative model for recruiting undergraduate students to a GIS education program. A couple of key findings include 1) curriculum development was a useful approach to recruitment, student credit hour generation, and retention-rate improvement; 2) recruitment presentations increased GIS awareness at high school and university levels; 3) intensive teacher training combined with GIS class development was effective to enhance GIS education at high schools and community colleges.

NCGE Journal Awards are chosen by the organizing committee with consideration of nominations from the membership. Nominations for articles published in 2012 will open in January of 2013.

For a complete list of AAG educational resources, visit  


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