Newsletter – February 2016


Bias and Consideration

By Sarah Witham Bednarz

Now is the winter of our discontent. I have always liked that line, the first of King Richard III. I know it is not really about winter, but it has always evoked for me the vaguely uncomfortable feeling I have during this season. It is cold, the days are short, and all I want to do is hibernate. But here in Texas we are seeing the first signs of spring. Yes, at the end of January. The robins are back, passing through on their way north; the narcissuses are about to bloom; and the trees are budding. Hope is in the air as I write this column. So let me write about two different topics, hiring and award selection. I promise to end each topic with an optimistic twist.

First, I am conscious of the anxiety and discontent of many young geographers who are completing their dissertations (stressful enough on its own) and applying for academic positions or other employment. Hiring is one of the most important things that a department does and yet we often do it without much reflection or consideration of the applicants. Tradition drives the process and I think we become a little callous. Continue Reading.

Recent columns from the President

Presidential Plenary to Kick Off Featured Theme on Higher Education

Thriving in a Time of Disruption in Higher Education

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 | 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Continental 5, Hilton Hotel, San Francisco

AAG President Sarah Bednarz has organized this year’s 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. She will moderate the discussion, which will feature different perspectives and critiques. The following discussants have been invited to participate on the panel:

2c7e2f24-5a71-4e01-bc83-d44426240481.Discussants (from left): Jenny Zorn, Elizabeth Wentz, Kristopher Olds, Kavita Pandit, and Yonette Thomas.
  • 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

Learn More.


san_franisco_bay_model-300x226-1.The San Francisco Bay Model. Photo: John Elrick.

The World a Model Makes

By John Elrick

When geographers touch down in San Francisco this spring, they will encounter a socio-natural world produced in part through technical efforts to understand and manage it. As a primary means by which such efforts were pursued in the Bay Area during the postwar years, the San Francisco Bay-Delta Hydraulic Model – located a few miles north of the city in the town of Sausalito – offers a unique window into the formation of the metropolitan region. Built by the Army Corps of Engineers to simulate bay-estuary conditions and test the feasibility of development plans, the physical model now operates as an educational center and public showcase for the accomplishments of the Corps. Learn More.


A New Rx for the Food Movement in San Francisco

By Kendra Klein

With large-scale demand and a mission to protect public health, hospitals are emerging as the next frontier of the sustainable food movement. Health care institutions spend $12 billion in the food and beverage sector each year, and a single hospital can have an annual food budget of $1–7 million or more. Even small shifts in foodservice budgets can create new markets for alternative foods.

To date, the darlings of the food movement have been farmers’ markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, and urban farms that connect eaters directly with the source of their food. These models appear to have boosted the number of small farmers in the U.S. after decades of freefall, but research shows that we now have an increasingly bifurcated system that favors small-scale direct markets and large-scale commodity markets. What’s more, experts believe that direct market models are reaching a saturation point even though they’ve barely begun to scratch the surface of the agricultural status quo. Local food sales account for less than two percent of total farm gross, and the goods exchanging hands at some 7,800 farmers’ markets nationwide represent less than one percent of total U.S. agricultural production. Learn More. 

[Focus on San Francisco is an on-going series curated by the Local Arrangements Committee to provide insight on and understanding of the geographies of San Francisco and the Bay Area]


AAG Calls for Nominations for Standing Committees

The AAG Council will make appointments to several of the AAG Standing Committees at its spring 2016 meeting. These appointments will replace members whose terms will expire on June 30, 2016.

If you wish to nominate yourself or other qualified individuals for one or more of these vacancies, please notify AAG Secretary Thomas Mote tmote [at] uga [dot] edu on or before March 1, 2016. Please make sure that your nominee is willing to serve if appointed. Include contact information for your nominee as well as a brief paragraph indicating his/her suitability for the position. Learn More.

students_geomentors-300x196-1. Students participating in 2015 GIS Day events in Delaware coordinated by GeoMentors

AAG-Esri ConnectED GeoMentors Program Begins Second Year

The AAG and Esri continue to develop a nationwide network of GeoMentors to assist schools and teachers with introducing GIS and associated geographic concepts into classrooms across the country. The GeoMentors program is in support of the U.S. Department of Education’s ConnectED Initiative for which Esri has donated $1 billion of ArcGIS Online software to all K-12 schools in the U.S.

In the program’s first year in 2015, a diverse and talented network of over 700 volunteers registered as GeoMentors and over 150 engagements were recorded with educators throughout the U.S. Program staff conducted outreach to professional organizations (e.g. AGI, ArcUser groups, EPA, GISCI, NCGE, National Geographic, NSTA), university departments and student groups; these efforts to build the GeoMentor community will continue in 2016. Learn More.

Race, Ethnicity and Place Conference Is Coming to Historic Kent, Ohio

The eighth bi-annual Race, Ethnicity and Place Conference (REP VIII) will be held September 21-23, 2016, at the Kent State Hotel, locally hosted by Kent State University

REP VIII already has attracted more than 150 registrants at the time of this publication, representing a wide range of disciplines, and scholars from numerous states and nations who share an interest in racial and ethnic transformation of places worldwide and reflect a mix of applied and theoretical perspectives. Along with paper, poster, and panel presentations, the conference features a welcoming reception at the Kent State Hotel on Wednesday evening, two lunches and a gala dinner. Learn More.


Students participating in 2015 GIS Day events in Delaware coordinated by GeoMentorsSecond Issue of ‘GeoHumanities’ Now Available

The AAG is pleased to announce that Volume 1, Issue 2 of GeoHumanities is now availableGeoHumanities is the newest journal of the American Association of Geographers. It features articles that span conceptual and methodological debates in geography and the humanities; critical reflections on analog and digital artistic productions; and new scholarly interactions occurring at the intersections of geography and multiple humanities disciplines.

Each issue, the Editors choose one article to make freely available. In this issue you can read Inductive Visualization: A Humanistic Alternative to GIS by Anne Kelly Knowles, Levi Westerveld and Laura Strom for free. To access the most recent issue of GeoHumanities click hereLearn More.

AAG-RoB-v4i1-babycvr-1‘The AAG Review of Books’ Volume 4, Issue 1 Is Now Available

The AAG is pleased to announce that Volume 4, Issue 1 of The AAG Review of Books is now available.

The journal features scholarly book reviews, along with reviews of significant current books related more broadly to geography and public policy and/or international affairs. Some examples of recently reviewed books include Lifeblood: Oil, Freedom, and the Forces of Capital by Matthew T. Huber and American Geography and Geographers: Toward Geographical Science by Geoffrey Martin.

New Books Received: January 2016 – The AAG Review of Books office has released the list of the books received during the month of January.

January 2016 Issue of the ‘Annals of the AAG’ Now Available.

The AAG is pleased to announce that Volume 106, Issue 1 (January 2016) of the Annals of the American Association of Geographers is now available. The Annals contains original, timely, and innovative articles that advance knowledge in all facets of the discipline. Articles are divided into four major areas: Environmental Sciences; Methods, Models, and Geographic Information Science; Nature and Society; and People, Place, and Region. Learn More.



AAG Archivist Geoffrey Martin Provides Rare Glimpses into the History of Geography

A near-capacity crowd gathered on January 21, 2016, in the Geography and Map Division at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., to hear a talk by the doyen of the history of geography, Dr. Geoffrey J. Martin, Professor Emeritus at Southern Connecticut State University and the official archivist of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) for more than 30 years.

Martin was invited to speak about his new book, American Geography and Geographers: Toward Geographical Science, which was published in 2015 by Oxford University Press. Learn More.

Kirstin Dow Named Among First Leshner Leadership Institute Public Engagement Fellows at AAAS

Fellows to focus on climate change issues in first year of program

Kirstin Dow, a University of South Carolina geography professor and former AAG National Councillor, has been named an inaugural fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) Leshner Leadership Institute.

All members in this first cohort of 15 fellows are climate scientists with an interest in promoting dialogue between science and society. Learn More.

  • Harold M. Rose – Distinguished professor emeritus of geography and urban studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and pioneer in research on race and segregation …
  • Shiloh Sundstrom – Doctoral student and teaching assistant in the Department of Geography at Oregon State University, and a keen rancher, forester and conservationist …
  • Susan R. Brooker-Gross – Geographer, educator, and administrator at Virginia Tech …

Russian, Central Eurasian and East European SG Now Accepting Submissions for 2015-16 Student Awards

The Russian, Central Eurasian and East European Specialty Group (RCEEE SG) is pleased to announce two student award opportunities (Paper Award, and Field Research Travel Award) for the 2015-16 academic year. We offer a Student Paper Award ($150) and a Field Research Travel Award ($250). Learn More.


NEH Summer Seminar on “Mapping, Text, and Travel” Now Accepting Applications

The Newberry Library’s Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography is pleased to announce its 2016 NEH Summer Seminar, “Mapping, Text, and Travel.” The five-week NEH Seminar, led by James Akerman and Jordana Dym, will examine the complex relationship between text, mapping, and travel from the emergence of the modern world to the dawn of the digital age, focusing on the genre of travel mapping within the wider context of the history of cartography and travel publication. Learn More.


Katelyn Suranovic Interns at AAG for Spring Semester

Katelyn Suranovic is currently pursuing her master’s degree in geography at George Washington University. Her focus is climate change and weather-related phenomena in response to climatic changes. Previously, Katelyn earned her bachelor of science degree from James Madison University (JMU), where she majored in geographic science with a concentration in environmental conservation, sustainability and development. Learn More.

AAG Now Accepting Internship Applications for Summer 2016

Interns participate in most AAG programs and projects such as education, outreach, research, website, publications, or the Annual Meeting. The AAG also arranges for interns to accompany different AAG staff on visits to related organizations or events of interest during the course of their internship. Apply by March 1Learn More.


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