Newsletter – February 2015



Keeping Track of Us and Keeping Us on Track

By Mona Domosh

We know a lot about you. Not that we’re spying of course, but the AAG has been keeping track of its members for quite a long time. We collect data on the number and type of geography degree-granting programs, the gender, race and ethnicity of our members, the types of jobs filled by geographers, the various career paths we’ve taken, etc. But we know very little about other aspects of our discipline and our members that are critical to how we practice, teach, and communicate geography. Because of this the AAG has formed a task force and will be contracting with a firm in order to survey our members about a set of important issues including an assessment of the state of contingency within geography, and an evaluation of AAG members’ satisfaction with the organization’s services, conferences, and suite of publications. Continue Reading

Recent columns from the President

Vote Today: AAG 2015 Election Now Open

The 2015 AAG election will take place Jan. 30 – March 3. Members received an electronic vote link via email. Members who notified the membership director previously about preferring to vote via a paper ballot, will receive an election packet via U.S. Mail. Vote today!



Plan Your Itinerary for AAG 2015 with the Preliminary Program

The AAG has made a preliminary program of the Annual Meeting available online. The searchable program includes an agenda of sessions, plenary speakers, and specialty group meetings to help attendees identify sessions of interest and plan their visit to Chicago. Delegates can browse the program by presenter, keyword, title, or specialty group. They can also view sessions by day using the calendar of events. View the Preliminary Program

Schedule a field trip to experience Chicagoland

Explore the geographies of Chicago and the Great Lakes

217New and returning visitors to Chicago are sure to find something new to learn about Chicagoland and the Great Lakes region on an AAG Field Trip. Let an expert guide you through the rich cultural and physical geographies the area has to offer on one or more field trips. There is plenty to choose from.

Browse the catalog of field trips and schedule your expedition today!

Hyatt, Swissôtel Offer Hotel Discounts for AAG 2015 in Chicago

Discounted hotel room rates for the 2015 AAG Annual Meeting are available at the Hyatt Regency Chicago and The Swissotel Chicago. Attendees are encouraged to reserve as soon as possible to receive the group rate. AAG 2015 events will be held at the Hyatt Regency, Swissotel, and the University of Chicago Gleacher Center. Staying at one of the AAG hotels offers quick and easy access to all conference activities. Continue Reading

Register for onsite childcare at AAG 2015

Advance registration for Camp AAG is strongly recommended

ACCENT_logo-300x275-1CAMP AAG, the AAG’s new onsite childcare program, is now accepting advance registrations for the 2015 Annual Meeting. The Association has selected Accent on Children’s Arrangements, Inc. (ACCENT) to design and run the new children’s program and to provide full-time, professionally managed and staffed childcare at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago from April 21-25, 2015. Learn More


Call for Nominations: AAG Standing Committees

The AAG Council will make appointments to several of the AAG Standing Committees at its spring 2015 meeting. These appointments will replace members whose terms will expire on July 1, 2015.

If you wish to nominate yourself or other qualified individuals for one or more of these vacancies, please notify AAG Secretary Laura Smith (smithl [at] macalester [dot] edu)  on or before March 1, 2015. Read More


In Memoriam: Florence M. Margai

The sudden passing of Florence M. Margai on January 8, 2015, is of great sadness to the AAG and the geography community. She was a great advocate for the use of geographic data and tools to identify and address health issues. Margai was born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Learn More

Research by Geographers Voted Most Influential in the Nation In 2014

A research paper co-authored by student and faculty at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte has been named as the most influential research related to health care disparities in 2014. The interdisciplinary team, many of whom are geographers, are looking to develop novel and innovative approaches to reduce health disparities and improve access to healthcare services. Read More


NIH: Four Opportunities in the Science of Behavior Change

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) via its Common Fund supports a Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) program initiative that “seeks to promote basic research on the initiation, personalization and maintenance of behavior change” (see Update, February 10, 2014). The NIH recently released four new SOBC Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) with the goal to “implement a mechanisms-focused, experimental medicine approach to behavior change research and to develop the tools required to implement such an approach.” Learn More

NSF: Resource Implementations for Data Intensive Research in the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate is seeking proposals to develop large-scale data resources and analytic techniques to advance fundamental SBE research. Successful proposals will aim to create databases or techniques that will enable SBE research that would not otherwise have been possible and should have impacts across multiple fields or within broad disciplinary areas. Proposals are due February 23, 2015. The full solicitation is available on the NSF website. Learn More

Study of the American South Specialty Group Announces Student Paper and Poster Competition

The Study of the American South Specialty Group in partnership with the Southeastern Geographer is pleased to announce its 2015 Student Paper and Poster Competition, with the goal of promoting quality research on the American South. The competition is open to any student (graduate or undergraduate) presenting either a paper or a poster at any academic conference between the end of the 2014 AAG Annual Meeting and the end of the 2015 AAG Annual Meeting, on a topic related to the American South. Physical geography and environmental topics are encouraged along with human geography and related topics. Learn More


Reauthorization of ESEA (No Child Left Behind) Heating Up

By Douglas Richardson and John Wertman

A draft reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which is currently known as No Child Left Behind, has been released by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the new Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. By taking this step so early in the newly-convened 114th Congress, Alexander is signaling that he has serious interest in passing a bill in the first half of 2015. The ESEA – the nation’s primary K-12 law – has not been reauthorized since early 2002. Read More

President Obama to Request Discretionary Spending Increase

Reports indicate that the President’s budget request for FY 2016, due on February 2, will seek to overturn most of the spending constraints scheduled for next year under the Budget Control Act. The Administration may propose to raise the discretionary spending caps by up to $68 billion, or seven percent, above their current post-sequestration levels, split between defense and civilian spending. Such an increase would eliminate three-quarters of the required reductions under the post-sequestration spending caps and would obviously free up additional funding for the science agencies that fund geography. The President’s proposal, however, faces long odds in the new Congress.

Source: AAAS Policy Alert, permission granted by AAAS


Elin ThorlundElin Thorlund Interns at AAG for Winter Semester

Elin Thorlund is a senior at Michigan State University pursuing a B.A. in Geography with minors in Spanish and Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities. Her interests include human and environment interaction, sustainability and climate change. After graduation, she is interested in working on research projects involving communities and their environmental interaction and sustainability before attending graduate school. In her free time she enjoys backpacking and rock climbing. Read More

Chestnut_Joe_2015mug-248x300-1Joe Chestnut Interns at AAG for Winter Semester

Joe Chestnut, a senior at The George Washington University, is double majoring in international affairs with a concentration in international development and geography. His areas of interest include urban geography in under-developed countries, slums and environmental disasters. His future aspirations include working within disaster management and working towards a masters degree in geography. Read More


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