Instructional Development Award Recipients
Several undergraduate instructors who attended the 2004, 2005, or 2006 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: Department of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley
Notable Achievements in Her Own Words
I attended the 2006 SPACE workshop at the Ohio State University and was very impressed by many excellent presentations. I was introduced to an array of GIS tools and spatial techniques which can be used to answer many interesting social science research questions. I began to think: how can I bring these back to Berkeley, given that none of the social science disciplines on campus offer a course in spatial methods or GIS? I wondered what is the best way to persuade my colleagues to integrate spatial methodologies in their research and teaching?
I once went to a teaching workshop. The instructor shared a ‘teaching secret’---never teach anything you do not know well. In order to encourage the dissemination of spatial methodologies to colleagues and students, the first step, I believe, is to introduce them to the state of the discipline. With the support of the Survey Research Center and the Berkeley GIS Center, I launched a new seminar series called Social Science In Place: GIS, Spatial Concepts, and Applied Social Science (SSIP). The mission is to promote the awareness and use of GIS and other spatial techniques in the social sciences. The seminar also aims to create an interdisciplinary platform to facilitate dissemination of knowledge and exchange of ideas in integrating spatial concepts and technology in applied social science research. Since it is interdisciplinary in nature, I invited speakers from various disciplines, such as political science, public health, sociology and geography, to either share a research project or give a lecture on a specific topic. As some of our seminar participants are new to spatial thinking, the lectures offered a quick introduction to the state of the field. The lecture notes or PowerPoints are circulated through the SSIP website, which hopefully will evolve to be a spatial resource site for the Berkeley community in the future.
The SSIP seminar series has received considerable positive feedback and is rapidly gaining reputation on campus. The presentations, on average, drew over 35 attendees. The introductory GIS workshop attracted over fifty participants. Many of these participants expressed interests in incorporating spatial methodologies in their research and teaching.
Given the success in the Fall semester, the SSIP series will continue in the Spring semester, 2007. In addition to presentations by faculty and advanced graduate students, showcasing their recent research, the series plans to offer several GIS and spatial statistics workshops. If resources allow, we plan to offer workshops to cover specific topics, such as exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA) using GeoDa, geocoding, and map projections, etc.
Being a political scientist, I am interested in advancing spatial methodologies in my field. I will participate in two major conferences, the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) and the American Political Science Association (APSA). For the AAG, I will be on a panel to discuss potential GIS applications in political science. For the APSA, I am organizing a panel titled GIS, Spatial Statistics and Political Science, which features four research papers that re-examine fundamental political science questions from a new spatial perspective. The goal of the panel is to establish GIS and spatial statistics as vibrant tools in political science and to hopefully inspire other political scientists to pay attention to spatial methodologies.