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Volume 19 Number 1

Article 1:

Developing Workplace Skills and Competencies in Geography Graduate Programs

Aurelia Kollasch, Jenny J. Lee*, Michael Solem

Volume 19 (2017), Number 1, pp. 10-42

This study compares the perspectives of graduate students and faculty in geography programs in the United States regarding their assessments of preparedness in transferable workplace skills and competencies. Graduate students and faculty were surveyed to examine: 1) graduate geography students’ assessment of their preparation in transferable skills and competencies; 2) geography faculty perceptions of graduate students’ career preparation; and 3) the transferability of the skills and competencies to academic, public, and private sectors.  Graduate students and faculty in both master’s and doctoral graduate geography programs ranked writing, critical thinking, and research planning and design skills as top three transferable skills with the most extensive level of preparation. There were some significant differences in skill preparedness by graduate program, as well as demographic and academic characteristics. Based on our analyses, we contend that a perception on a ‘skills gap’ between students and faculty exists in the types of skills and competencies that are emphasized in geography graduate programs.

Keywords: graduate education, career preparation, transferable skills, skills gap

Article 2:

Mapping for Mutuality: Using Data Maps to Enhance Educational Policymakers' Awareness of the Communities They Serve

Patrick Womac, Benjamin Bindewald, Matthew Della Sala

Volume 19 (2017), Number 1, pp. 43- 66

The purpose of this conceptual article is to explore the merits of mapping as a data tool for improving state policymakers’ awareness of the characteristics and circumstances of the communities they serve. Using South Carolina’s Supreme Court decision on a landmark school finance case as the context, a series of maps were created and examined to illuminate the distributions of county and school district goods across the state. We found that maps provided an added geospatial component when compared to the findings from traditional quantitative analyses. Implications for the use of maps in educational policymaking, university curriculum, and secondary education curriculum are outlined in the discussion.

Keywords: geography of opportunity, education policy, mapping, contextual patterns, equity

Article 3:

Investigating Grade Level Impact of the Advanced Placement Human Geography Course and Student Interests in Pursuing Geography in Higher Education

Michael A. Scholz, Ruojing W. Scholz, Richard G. Boehm

Volume 19 (2017), Number 1, pp. 67- 81

This study investigated the impact of the APHG course at different grade levels and students’ pursuit of geography in higher education. Data was collected in an online survey on students’ choices of majors or minors in geography as well as their interest levels in taking geography courses, and seeking careers. Students enrolled at Texas State University in the Spring semester of 2013 participated in the survey. Results of the survey showed that: 1) the APHG course increased the number of geography majors especially when it was taken at a higher grade level in high school; and, 2) the higher the grade level in which the APHG course was taken, the higher the interest level students had in choosing geography as a major as well as in taking geography courses. Data analysis from the survey also indicated that students taking the APHG course reported that they were more likely to pursue a career in geography.  Findings from this study will assist academic geographers and professional organizations (such as NCGE) in determining whether to encourage offering the APHG course at the 9th grade level. In addition, findings will assist students, parents, teachers, and school counselors in making decisions on the appropriate grade levels in which to offer AP courses.

Keywords: AP Human Geography, geography major, course interest, career interest in geography

Article 4:

To Whom Are We Listening? Measuring the Pulse of Geography Education Research, 2010

Donald Patrick Albert, Erin Dorris Cassidy

Volume 19 (2017), Number 1, pp. 82- 101

This study analyzes citations from thirty-six articles published in volume 34 (2010) of the Journal of Geography in Higher Education (JGHE). This is one of the dominant publications in the suite of international journals focusing on geography education. Our purpose is to explore the question, to whom are “we” – the geography education community – listening? Citations from these articles were categorized as originating from the journal subject categories geography education, geography, or non-geography. Simple count and percent summaries of citations from individual journals within subject categories, and overall across categories were extracted from the thirty-six articles. The quality of these citations was assessed using each journal’s SCImago Journal Ranking (SJR) score and quartile standing for 2010. Weighted citation values were calculated to rank the leading contributing journals to the JGHE. The results indicated that the JGHE is underpinned by a diversity of high-impact journals from all three categories including the Journal of Geography in Higher Education (self-cites), Science Education, Progress in Human Geography, and The Professional Geographer. Our data revealed that this volume of JGHE cited articles from a diverse range of journals with 47.5% from geography (30.3% geography education and 17.2 percent geography) and 52.5% from non-geography journals. Education journals comprised 62.5% of the citations from the non-geography category. These statistics suggest the scholars in geography education are reaching within and across the discipline to enhance and propel their research activities.

Keywords: citations, bibliometric, geography education, journals

Article 5:

Integrating Geospatial Technology in Pre-Service Teacher Training Programs

Emily J. Summers, Joann Zadrozny*, James P. Van Overschelde, Niem Tu Huynh, Michael Solem, Richard G. Boehm

Volume 19 (2017), Number 1, pp. 102- 126

Geographic educators are continuously developing new and creative ways to integrate geospatial technology and spatial thinking in a wide array of EC-16 courses. Ensuring teachers are effectively trained in these new ways is important so EC-16 students can excel in their own geographic knowledge and skills. A mixed methods design was employed to investigate pre-service participants’ perceptions and change in spatial thinking after using geospatial technology in a prepared geospatial technology module. Results show an improvement in spatial thinking, as well as a receptive attitude toward the use of geospatial technology as a teaching tool.

Keywords: geospatial technologies, professional development, pre-service teacher training