The 2005 Meeting of the Applied Geography Commission, International Geographical Union

The 2005 meeting of the IGU’s Applied Geography Commission was held in Las Vegas, Nevada in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the North American Regional Science Council (NARSC). The NARSC Conference starts on Thursday, November 10 and ends on the evening of Saturday, November 12, 2005. See the NARSC web site for conference registration information and other details (including accommodations). The AGC will organize two paper sessions.

Papers should focus on one of the following themes:

Theme I : Applied Geography in the Geography Curriculum: Issues for Undergraduate and Graduate Education

Geographers in business and government often find themselves making the geography-applied geography connection after they have graduated and are on the job. We have selected this theme because we think that a more effective and efficient approach is to have the applied geography message be an explicit part of the undergraduate and graduate curricula. Among the approaches to be considered are internships; industry case studies; having applied geography themes embedded in “traditional” geography courses; “professional courses” that make explicit the use of geographic concepts and techniques for solving common problems found in government and business; student visits to employing firms and agencies; and campus visits by potential employers and industry allies.

Theme II : Industry Applications

In every region of the World there are success stories – stories that can often best be told by geographers who have successfully made the move from the academy to positions of responsibility and leadership in business and government. In some cases the story involves the move from student status to post university employment. In other cases the success stories involve geographers who have successfully made the jump from professorships to corporate and civic environments.

Our intention here is to celebrate success while exploring the attributes of geographic education that seem to be especially valued by “those who know.” We also want to explore the differences in corporate cultures and value systems that sometimes stand between those in the academy and those in industry and government. Finally, we want to identify and better understand successful partnerships between academic geography, corporate geography and government-based geographic applications.

Theme III. Ethics: Should Applied Geographers be Objective Technocrats? Passionate Advocates? Or Can They be Both?

Give widespread concerns about questionable practices by both corporate and civic officials it is appropriate that the Applied Geography Commission bring this debate to the discipline. Geographers can and have assumed a variety of postures when addressing questions of policy and practice. Are there rules governing those who serve as applied geographers? What have geographers done to assure that they are “credible professionals” and what have they done (or should they do) to avoid conflicts of interest. Does the behavior of geographers who do not work in the civic and corporate sectors have consequences for those who do?

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