Title page for ETD etd-06062008-155714

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Heric, Matthew
URN etd-06062008-155714
Title The professional geographer experience :issues for advancing collegiate geography education
Degree PhD
Department Educational Research and Evaluation
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Belli, Gabriella M. Committee Chair
Carstensen, Laurence William Jr. Committee Member
Fortune, Jimmie C. Committee Member
Morrill, Robert W. Committee Member
Wolfle, Lee M. Committee Member
  • academic
  • non-academic
  • occupation
Date of Defense 1996-03-05
Availability restricted
As a result of tireless and well directed efforts from its professional communities, geography as a field of study experienced a tremendous revitalization during the past few decades. Collegiate geography educators, however, cannot afford to become satisfied; additional needs in both research and application persist if the discipline is to continue its evolutionary resurgence. One continuing question is: now that they have careers as professional geographers, how do collegiate geography graduates view their program experiences?

Specifically, for this investigation questions for selected topics and sub-topics (or areas) were: what was the extent of their initial exposure to these during their programs; how relevant were these to their current jobs; and what was the utility of including these in degree programs? Also, what types of expertise did they develop since graduation? The topics of interest were: other disciplines, geography, business, education, computers, and communications.

A collection of 181 academic and non-academic professional geographers provided their opinions about these questions. Their answers indicated that: (1) by far, communication, education, and computers had the highest ratings for utility, relevance, and expertise gained after graduation; (2) ratings for exposure during degree programs were comparably lower for all topics; and (3) the academics and non-academics, although from different occupational environments, agreed most of the time.

The discussion includes further detail about the ratings and focuses on how the two groups responded. Additional attention focuses on implications of the results in terms of the impacts on collegiate geography programs. The presentation concludes with recommendations for future research and application.

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