We are sitting in a panel this morning on geospatial technology curricula in Higher Education. It has been interesting to hear senior faculty members discuss how GIS got started in their universities, where the programs are now, and how they see the near future unfolding. One of the panelists, has been active in organizations like UCGIS and has been a pioneer in how GIS curricula have developed. With changes happening so rapidly in the geospatial industry, it is difficult for academic programs to keep up, as they have to grapple with budgets, developing new classes and programs, faculty and staffing, etc.
One interesting point that the current speaker, Dr. Greg Elmes, is making now, is that most university programs are geared toward 4-year undergraduate and graduate education, while often people who are coming into geospatial technologies may already be working and have backgrounds in other fields. These students are maybe not best served by a traditional university degree program, and universities that want to attract such students may have to look at more innovative curricula.
It’s interesting that many of us may think that the points being made in this panel are not new, but senior university faculty like the ones participating are the very same ones who would be instrumental in changing and updating curricula, so hearing how they perceive the issues involved in keeping geospatial technology and Geography curricula relevant in a rapidly changing world.
Ok, it’s my turn to ask a question, so we will do our wrap-up later in the week.
Note from Jesse: Sue forgot to mention that I was the organizer and chair of the session, which went really well I think, even with two of the panelist missing.