The AEGIS Project
Academic Excellence and Geographic Information Systems (AEGIS) is a multidisciplinary effort to introduce students in a variety of lower division Arts & Sciences courses to methods of GIS data gathering, analysis, and representation. This three-year project (2003-2006) is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation's Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement program offered through the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education.
In this project, modules using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are being integrated into introductory courses across the Arts and Sciences curriculum. The AEGIS project is teaching 14 participating faculty how to use GIS and assisting them in the development of discipline-specific GIS modules for introductory level courses. The goals of the project are to increase awareness of GIS, generate growing undergraduate interest in GIS, and provide ongoing support for multidisciplinary GIS activities at Samford University. The outcomes are increased numbers of majors in Biology and Geography developing GIS skills and a growth in the number of students pursuing the GIS Certificate program. This project is adapting elements from similar programs at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, the University of Georgia, and the Florida State University.
The intellectual merit of this project is the improved preparation of undergraduates in multiple disciplines in geo-spatial methods, which are being applied increasingly across a growing spectrum of professional and academic fields.
The broader impacts of this project are far-reaching. The integration of introductory GIS into a diverse array of Arts and Sciences courses is leading to further development of GIS modules for advanced courses. It is also enhancing student research skills by providing students with multiple opportunities to engage in data acquisition and analysis. The impact on undergraduate research skills is strengthened by virtue of the fact that our university has already made a commitment to Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in many departments.
Participating faculty enrolled in a GIS short course at the start of their participation in the project. Following this they began working with experts to create GIS modules and introduce them into freshman and sophomore level courses. These faculty also plan to participate in a tune-up workshop during Samford's short January session in order to adjust and enhance their GIS modules. Following two years of faculty education in GIS methods and subsequent efforts to develop and implement GIS course modules, the third year is focused on a comprehensive project evaluation, using data from both student and faculty experiences.
AEGIS Instructor Resources
- Click here to view calendar showing availability of ESRI GIS lab (UCA 210) for fall term 2004.
Contact Max Baber to reserve the ESRI GIS lab for use with your class.
- Click here to view html-version PowerPoint presentation providing Introduction to GIS for AEGIS project courses.
- Download student evaluation form to assess course GIS experiences.
- Max Baber, Ph.D. (Geography), Principal Investigator / Project Director
- Paul Blanchard, Ph.D. (Biology), Co-Principal Investigator / Training Coordinator
- Eric Fournier, Ph.D. (Geography), Co-Principal Investigator / Faculty Participant (2003 cohort)
- Jim Brown, Ph.D. (History), Co-Principal Investigator / Faculty Participant (2003 cohort)
- Bob Stiles, Ph.D. (Biology), Co-Principal Investigator / Faculty Participant (2003 cohort)
- Betsy Dobbins, Ph.D. (Biology), Faculty Participant (2003 cohort)
- Dave Garza, Ph.D. (Chemistry), Faculty Participant (2003 cohort)
- Marjorie Walker, Ph.D. (History), Faculty Participant (2003 cohort)
- Greg Jeane, Ph.D. (Geography), Faculty Participant (2003 cohort)
- Randolph Horn, Ph.D. (Political Science), Faculty Participant (2004 cohort)
- Ron Jenkins, Ph.D. (Biology), Faculty Participant (2004 cohort)
- Ellen McLaughlin, Ph.D. (Biology), Faculty Participant (2004 cohort)
- Shannon Flynt, M.A. (Classics), Faculty Participant (2004 cohort)
- Doug Clapp, Ph.D. (Classics), Faculty Participant (2004 cohort)
- Larry Davenport, Ph.D. (Biology), Faculty Participant (2004 cohort)
- George Keller, Ph.D. (Biology), Faculty Participant (2004 cohort)
Click on the following links to view graphic presentations from GIS course module experiences.
- BIOL 107 - Contemporary Biology (Fall 2003) Dr. Betsy Dobbins
- GEOG 210 - Principles of Human Geography (Fall 2003) Dr. Eric Fournier
- GEOG 101 - World Regional Geography (Fall 2003) Dr. Eric Fournier
- HIST 200 - The West in Global Perspective (Fall 2003) Dr. Jim Brown
Exemplar Multidisciplinary GIS Programs
- National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education
The National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE) was established in September, 2001, through a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to serve as a catalyst for innovation and collaboration for national liberal arts colleges as they seek to make effective use of technology.
- Institute for Geographic Information Science
Established January 1988 as Multidisciplinary GIS Center ... faculty & students from various disciplines have developed applications in natural resource management, ecological habitat analysis, medical geography, urban planning, cartography, and demographics
- Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (CSISS)
Founded on principle that analyzing social phenomena in space and time enhances understanding of social processes ... focuses on methods, tools, techniques, software, data, and services needed to promote and facilitate use of GIS in social sciences.
- Center for Applied Spatial Analysis (CASA)
Facilitates use of GIS, spatial data, and techniques (cartography, remote sensing, spatial analysis) within College of Social and Behavioral Sciences ... supports and develops research projects, grants, demonstrations, training, teaching and internships.