Instructional Development Award Recipients
Several undergraduate instructors who attended the 2004 SPACE workshops were awarded funds to continue their efforts in integrating spatial analysis into their course curriculums. These pages showcase their achievements. See the full recipient list.
Affiliation: Director of Library Services, Methodist College
Notable Achievements in Her Own Words
Hearing about the experiences of our instructors and my fellow students at the SPACE workshop encouraged me to work
on my vision, expand it, and know that I can turn it into reality.
The SPACE workshop showed me that my vision of a geographic information science minor was achievable. I met people who had started programs, who taught in programs, and who, like me, were trying to start programs.
The lectures on spatial analysis refocused my approach to teaching a GIS application course. The first class I'd taught in spring 2004 was focused on teaching the tools of a GIS program. I was not comfortable with that but had no model to guide me in reformulating the course. Over Christmas I redesigned the course and rewrote the syllabus. This I wrote a second syllabus for an introductory level course aimed at sophomores.
I have called the course Introduction to Spatial Analysis for two reasons: 1) The title reinforces that this course will be focused on how to analyze data to solve problems and visually illustrate spatial relationships; that it goes beyond just the mechanics of using a GIS program. 2) The course is not tied to a particular discipline or major. I will deliberately give students exercises that expose them to the use of GIS and spatial analysis in many different fields.
Hearing about the experiences of our instructors and my fellow students at the SPACE workshop encouraged me to work on my vision, expand it, and know that I can turn it into reality. Admittedly the reality will come slowly and in many stages because at this point in my career I cannot focus exclusively on bringing this vision to fruition.
I now have a four-pronged vision for the teaching of GIS at Methodist College. The four parts are: an introductory course that can be a springboard for work within a major or for a minor using GIS; a minor with both software and hardware tracks; assisting individual faculty with the incorporation of spatial tools and methodologies into their curriculum; summer workshops for K-12 educators on the use of GIS in their social science modules.
The academic dean at my college is enthusiastic about my vision and ready to support me as I bring forward parts for implementation. Faculty that I have spoken to are equally interested. During the SPACE workshop I prepared a "marketing" presentation on the implementation of GIS into the curriculum.
In addition, I have talked with our institutional research officer about conducting a baseline survey of students and faculty on current GIS knowledge and usage. I had hoped to use a survey reported on at the ESRI conference last year as my basis but unfortunately the creating institution will not grant permission. The main purpose of the survey is to provide baseline data for grant applications and supporting information for internal review steps.
Before the workshop I had not thought about working with other faculty as a formal part of my vision. My fellow student's experiences and the example of the workshop itself demonstrated that this was an important role that I could play. I'm not interested in keeping GIS to myself. I'd like to see everyone use it in their courses as appropriate. I'm in an excellent position on my campus to act as a mentor and instructor to other faculty but I will have to obtain funding to create a position to do this. As the Director of Library Services I cannot commit beyond teaching one class per semester. My vision demands a lot more. My goal is to assist faculty members in using spatial analysis in lectures and in student assignments, or to create a complete course for their major.
The 8th Crime Mapping Conference in Savannah GA in September will be attended by crime analysts from departments around the country, state and federal law enforcement officials, and by members of academia who study and teach in criminal justice. I will attend presentations on how spatial analysis is used to prevent, solve, and study crime and then incorporate this information into my teaching. Later that month I'll present a program at the North Carolina Library Association Conference. The purpose of the program is to introduce librarians to the kinds of information and analysis that can be obtained from interactive mapping web sites. Librarians provide support to educators and can introduce many young people to GIS.