Newsletter – May 2017


The Creation of Transformative Geographies 

By Glen M. MacDonald
Glen M. MacDonald

We all like to think of ourselves as being transformative in one way or the other. Indeed, we all are. In our personal interactions and the examples we set, we can transform the lives of those around us. Gifted teachers and graduate advisors play a critical role in transforming the lives of their students, and it is from such teachers that our discipline attracts new adherents and grows. The importance and power of the transformative process of education, student by student, classroom by classroom, department by department, cannot be overvalued. Because of its innately transformative role, teaching should always be highly regarded by our Association and by each and every one of us.

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Recent columns from the President


AAG 2017 Boston Recap

Whether you want to reminisce or just see what you missed, check out our retrospective of the the special events and sessions from the AAG 2017 annual meeting! The Boston conference hosted more than 9,000 geographers, GIS specialists, environmental scientists, and other registrants from around the world sharing the latest in research, policy, and applications in geography, sustainability, and GIScience.

See the Highlights.

AAG Kicks Off Earth Day with the March for Science

Geographers from around the country traveled to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 22, 2017, to demonstrate and show their support for the March for Science. Despite the rain, Geographers and scientists from many other disciplines and their supporters rallied to march for science!

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2017 Annual Specialty and Affinity Group Awards

The AAG has 71 Specialty and Affinity Groups which bring together AAG members around interests in particular topics, regions or professional communities. Many of these groups bestow awards for outstanding achievement and service, prizes for papers and posters, and give grants for research and travel to students, faculty and professionals in their respective fields. Some of these awards were presented at the AAG’s annual Awards Luncheon held in Boston on April 9, 2017. The full list of all 2017 Specialty and Affinity Group Awards will be published on the AAG website in due course.

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Great Plains/Rocky Mountains Division Team Takes 2017 World Geography Bowl Title

2017 Winning World Geography Bowl Team

The Great Plains/Rocky Mountains Division team won first place in the 2017 World Geography Bowl (WGB), an annual quiz competition for teams of college-level geography students representing the AAG’s nine regional divisions. First runner-up was Southeast Division team and second runner-up was the Southwest Division team. This was the 28th year for AAG hosting during its Annual Meeting in Boston.

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AAG Launches Emerging Scholars Program at the Annual Meeting


This year, the AAG launched the “Emerging Workforce Scholars” program, a unique three-day careers pathway exploration at the Annual Meeting in Boston. Fourteen highly motivated, diverse students from Boston’s community colleges, high schools and youth programs were introduced to careers in the environment, sustainable infrastructure and the tools of applied geography and geosciences. The AAG partnered with the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) to recruit, vet and train this cohort of highly-qualified students. The Boston Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development and the Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development (Hon. Ronald L. Walker, II) were also an integral part of making this project a resounding success.

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Geography and the New Administration

The AAG will host a Twitter Chat on May 17 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time entitled “Geography and the New Administration.” To join the chat, follow @theAAG on Twitter using the #AAGChat hashtag. In order to set the scene for what we hope will be an engaging and interactive discussion, we wanted to share some perspectives on the active role our organization has played in responding to several noteworthy recent policies.

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AAG Accepting Registrations for Early Career and Department Leadership Workshops

The University of Tennessee will host two AAG-sponsored workshops in June designed for all geographers interested in 1) improving their programs and 2) graduate students and faculty who are beginning their careers in higher education.

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Call for Nominations – AAG Honors

Please consider nominating outstanding colleagues for the AAG Honors, the highest awards offered by the AAG! AAG Honors are offered annually to recognize outstanding accomplishments by members in research and scholarship, teaching, education, service to the discipline, public service outside academe, and for lifetime achievement. Individual AAG members, specialty groups, affinity groups, departments, and other interested parties are encouraged to nominate outstanding colleagues by June 30. Currently, honors are awarded in several categories, including: Distinguished Teaching Honors; Gilbert F. White Distinguished Public Service Honors; Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors; Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education; Distinguished Scholarship Honors; and Lifetime Achievement Honors. AAG Honors are selected annually by the AAG Honors Committee from a collection of nomination submissions.

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The AAG Fellows Program

The AAG is honored to announce it has launched AAG Fellows, a new program to recognize geographers who have made significant contributions to advancing geography. In addition to honoring geographers, AAG Fellows will serve the AAG as an august body to address key AAG initiatives including creating and contributing to AAG initiatives; advising on AAG strategic directions and grand challenges; and mentoring early and mid-career faculty. The deadline for nominations is June 30.

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Recommend Candidates for AAG Honors and Nominating Committees

The AAG Council seeks nominations for candidates to serve on the AAG Honors Committee and the AAG Nominating Committee. The Council will prepare the final slate of candidates for both committees from the nominations received, and committee members will be elected by a vote of the AAG membership. The deadline for nominations is June 30.

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2017 J. Warren Nystrom Award

Four recent geography PhDs, finalists in the 2017 J. Warren Nystrom Award competition, presented high-quality research papers on April 6 during a special session at the AAG Annual Meeting in Boston. The Nystrom Award is an annual prize for a paper based upon a recent doctoral dissertation in geography.

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AAG Seeks Interns for Fall Semester

The AAG is currently seeking interns for the spring semester, although the organization offers opportunities on a year-round basis for the spring, summer and fall semesters. 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.

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Geographers Farhana Sultana and Tim Beach Lecture at Vatican Workshops

Tim Beach, Centennial Professor of Geography and Environment at UT Austin, presented an invited lecture on “Societal Collapses from the Maya to Mesopotamia and Beyond” at the Vatican in a workshop on Biological Extinction sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

Farhana Sultana, associate professor of geography at the Maxwell School, presented at “The Human Right to Water” workshop, also hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, in Vatican City on Feb. 23-24, 2017.

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Job Announcement for a Geography and Spatial Sciences Program Director at NSF

The Geography and Spatial Sciences (GSS) Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks applicants for a Program Director position that will become available in Summer 2017. While applications may be submitted as late as May 11, 2017, applicants are encouraged to submit their applications sooner if at all possible.

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Request for Proposals: Transformative Research in Geography Education

The National Center for Research in Geography Education (NCRGE) invites proposals to develop new collaborative and interdisciplinary research networks addressing major questions and challenges in geography education. Through this program, NCRGE aspires to strengthen geography education research processes and promote the growth of sustainable, and potentially transformative, lines of research.

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Call for Nominations: GeoCUR Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

cur-logo-300x175The Geosciences Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research (GeoCUR) is now accepting nominations for its annual award that highlights the importance of mentoring undergraduate research activities. The award annually recognizes an individual who serves as a role model for productive and transformative student-faculty mentoring relationships and for maintaining a sustained and innovative approach to the enterprise of undergraduate research.

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Federal Research Agencies Avoid Cuts in Congressional Budget Deal

Late last week, President Trump signed into law a budget deal that will fund the federal government through September 30. The bipartisan deal has generally been viewed favorably by science advocates, as it maintains or increases funding levels for most agencies that provide research support.

Under the deal, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will remain level funded at $7.472 billion. The National Institutes of Health, meanwhile, receives a $2 billion increase to $34.1 billion, $352 million of which is targeted for the 21st Century Cures act that was enacted late during the Obama Administration.

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John Miller Morris

John Miller MorrisJohn Miller Morris, Jr., 64, passed away on February 16, 2017, in a San Antonio hospital after surgery, attended by friends who traveled thousands of miles to come to his bedside. He is survived by a daughter Erin Claire Noakes of Washington D.C. He will be missed by his longtime companion, many friends, colleagues, and neighbors.

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Ray Henkel

Ray Henkel was born Jan. 28, 1931 on a farm along the Cimarron River about 30 miles west of Tulsa. He died March 11, 2017, at age 86. Ray attended a one-room elementary school, and in 1948 graduated from Kellyville H. S. in a class of 15, earning an A in every class. Ray had a photographic memory, so school work was always easy for him.

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John Charles Armstrong Davey

John DaveyJohn Davey, a prodigious figure in academic, trade and reference publishing for almost 50 years, died at home with family at his side on April 21, 2017. He had just celebrated his 72 birthday days earlier. After making his mark in publishing in the 1970s, John joined Blackwell as their first full-time academic editor. During the 1980s he took the company from obscurity to being a major force in the industry. He rapidly became an editorial director, appointed several specialist editors, initiated Blackwell’s reference publishing, acquired and started several new journals, and had responsibility for rights and contracts.

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Marvin W. Mikesell

Marvin W. MikesellMarvin W. Mikesell, Professor of Geography in the Committee on Geographical Studies, died unexpectedly Wednesday morning, April 26, 2017, at the University of Chicago Hospital in Hyde Park, aged 88, in the midst of teaching his seminar on problems in the human geography of the Middle East this Spring Quarter.

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The International Encyclopedia of Geography is Here

he International EncyclopediaThe AAG and an international team of distinguished editors and authors announce a new major reference work for Geography: The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology. Available as an online resource and as a 15-volume full-color print set published by Wiley, this is an invaluable resource for libraries, geographers, GIScientists, students and academic departments around the globe. Updated annually, this Encyclopedia is the authoritative reference work in the field of geography for decades to come.

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Publicize Your Department in the AAG Guide to Geography Programs

The American Association of Geographers is accepting entries from geography programs to be included in the 2017 edition of the Guide to Geography Programs in the Americas. The deadline for submitting a listing has been extended to Friday, June 2, 2017.

The 2017 edition of the Guide will be available exclusively online.

The Guide serves as a complete and invaluable reference for faculty, prospective students, government agencies, and private firms in the United States, Canada, and throughout the world. To list your institution, please contact Mark Revell at guide [at] aag [dot] org.

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New Books in Geography — April 2017

New Books in Geography illustration of stack of booksEvery month the AAG compiles a list of newly-published books in geography and related fields. Some are selected for review in the AAG Review of Books. Anyone interested in reviewing these or other titles should contact the Editor-in-Chief, Kent Mathewson.

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May 2017 Issue of the ‘Annals of the AAG’ Now Available

Annals-cover-2016The AAG is pleased to announce that Volume 107, Issue 3 (May 2017) of the Annals of the American Association of Geographers is now available.

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