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Stand-Alone Geographer

Adventures of being the only geographer on a college campus.
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Introducing a 3D Google Earth Model of UWFox

At UWFox this spring, GEO 106 encountered a number of technical problems largely related to software and hardware obsolescence. So old were these machines that even our resident Helpdesk miracle workers found the challenges daunting. Despite mounting frustrations, the students kept an overwhelmingly positive attitude and pushed forward.

Just after midterm, an important GIS lesson was again aborted by the software company’s failure to support its older products still in use. At that time, the class discussed alternate project lessons that could provide a laboratory and application for all necessary skills while creating a product useful beyond the limits of this particular course section or semester.

With this, the first three-dimensional model of the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley campus was born.

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UWFox's Geography Offerings for 2012-13

I was only on the job about a month at UWFox before I got an email from the associate dean asking me for my proposed curriculum for the next academic year. Wait, what? You mean I get to decide what we're offering in geography for an entire school year? That's nuts! I'm not a department chair or anything, and I've certainly never designed or proposed a curriculum. Hell, I haven't even completed one semester as a full-fledged faculty member yet... Read more
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Promoting UWFox Geography, Fall 2011: An Active Geo-Adventurers Club

Our main goal with the Geo-Adventurers is to get students active in extra-curricular activities. In the case of this club, most of those activities involve getting down and dirty with the earth, which provides a natural link to the geoscience curriculum at UWFox. But again, first goal is involvement, and anything that happens after that is icing on the cake. Read more
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Promoting UWFox Geography, Fall 2011: Marketing Spring Courses

Let's face it: higher education is, for better or for worse, all about the numbers.  If our enrollment suffers, it's likely to be curtains for budget and for fun upper-level classes.  However, if enrollment grows, so does our department.  The other, even more crucial point is, of course, that both geography and geology are fields that have to recruit from within.  More enrollees give us more chance to bring students to the "dark side." Read more
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Promoting UWFox Geography, Fall 2011: Growing interest in the discipline and, hence, our little department

By raising the (quite low) awareness of what geography is as a discipline, it raises the potential for interest from students.  By growing interest with potential students, we've got a better chance at increasing the enrollment, therefore awareness is important in this job. Read more
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Promoting UWFox Geography, Fall 2011

As the only geographer, I'm responsible for everything related to the geography at the school, including awareness, planning, curriculum, you name it. Of course, this week, I worked with a local GIS user group to plan and promote a GIS Day event, which ended up being pretty damn successful. In fact, it was looking back during that promotional process -- of an event that itself was promotional in nature -- that made me realize that I've done A LOTof that since I've been at UWFox... enough to justify a new blog entry highlighting my latest work as a PR officer. It's just one of the many hats of a stand-alone geographer, the experience for which I've now started a separate blog category to explore. Read more
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GIS Day 2011 at UWFox: Success!

We had a total of 76 people attend the event, including faculty, staff and community members.  This shattered the FVGISUG's earlier record attendance of 23 set last year.  Of those 76, at least 63 were students, and 44 of those students completed the worksheet I created to encourage engagement with the presenters.  Not bad!

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GIS Day 2011 at UWFox: Publicity

I did want to make a special entry to mention some of the publicity efforts that we've been working on to get the word out about GIS Day. One of the biggest challenges in the past for the Fox Valley GIS User Group has been capturing an interested audience. With my arrival at UWFox this year, we've managed to expand our methods of publicity for the event substantially. Of course, with the event still a day away, we don't know (yet) if our labors will be fruitful. Read more
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GIS Day 2011 at UWFox: Preparation

While I haven't had my feet under me long enough here to put together a week-long program, I was fortunate to be contacted early on about hosting a GIS Day event on November 16 by the Fox Valley GIS Users Group. The FVGISUG is the local GIS professional networking group for Northeast Wisconsin, and they've been putting on a GIS Day event for several years. Last year, they worked with my predecessor to mild success. This year, we're trying again, and we're doing everything we can to make it big. Read more
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