Michael Solem to Receive AAG Gilbert Grosvenor Geographic Education Honors

The 2015 AAG Gilbert Grosvenor Geographic Education Honors is presented to Dr. Michael N. Solem for advancing geographic education through his research, writing, and leadership. As Director of Educational Research and Programs at the Association of American Geographers, Solem emerged as a national and international leader in creating, guiding and shaping educational and outreach programs which have had a lasting impact on our discipline.

A citation for Michael Solem follows. 

Michael N. Solem, Association of American Geographers


Dr. Michael N. Solem is awarded the Association of American Geographers 2015 Gilbert Grosvenor Geographic Education Honors in recognition of the leadership role he has played at the national and international levels in advancing educational research and practice across the entire discipline. Currently the AAG’s Director of Educational Research and Programs, Solem has emerged as one of the preeminent scholars of geography education in the world today. Through his work as a writer, grant developer, principal investigator, project manager, administrator, facilitator, and advisor, Solem is recognized as one of geography’s key public advocates of national and international educational reform and innovation.

Solem’s contributions signal both great personal accomplishment and exceptional promise for geography’s future. His insights into the relationships among globalization, citizenship and geographic literacy have helped many to clarify their thinking about the challenges we face in advancing geographic education in the very complex 21st century educational environment. In this regard Michael’s research, conference presentations, many curricular related grants and publications have been highly significant and timely for geographers and social scientists across the disciplines. Since 2003, he has been PI or Co-PI on 13 grants, 10 from the National Science Foundation, to support these projects. It is notable that Solem has maintained his connection to the university environment through an academic appointment at Texas State University where he continues to teach and interact with colleagues and students.

Solem’s efforts to promote professional development and career preparation within geography have also been exceptional. Through books such as Aspiring AcademicsTeaching College Geography; and Practicing Geography, as well his participation in the Geography Faculty Development Alliance workshops, Solem has helped to make the AAG a leader in advancing professional development as a key element of disciplinary life. Similarly, his work as a co-director of the new National Center for Research in Geography Education, as a member of the Geography Education National Implementation Project, a member of the steering committee of the Education Committee of the IGU, and as a member of the Roadmap to Geographic Literacy project is having a lasting impact across primary, secondary and higher education.

Dr. Solem has become one of geography’s key public advocates. His ability to speak with authority, depth and clarity on educational issues has had a remarkable influence on contemporary geography, and its future.