Mosher study to examine pathways to geography education

Mosher,-AnneAnne Mosher, associate professor of geography and chair of the Citizenship and Civic Engagement (CCE) dual degree program at the Maxwell School, has been awarded a $20,000 research grant by the National Center for Research in Geography Education (NCRGE) for her study “Minding the Gap, Tending the Bridge,” examining pathways to college and careers for students who express an interest in geography. The NCRGE research coordination network is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Geography and Spatial Science program (NSF Award BCS-1560862). 

The study — led by Mosher in collaboration with Jamie Winders, professor and chair of geography, and Amy Lutz, associate professor of sociology — will utilize focus groups and interviews with high school guidance counselors, college admissions representatives, and college general advising staff in three different states to identify difficulties that students, particularly young women and other underrepresented groups, face in continuing their studies of geography in college. By opening a line of research focused on non-instructional personnel, this group hopes to develop a new collaborative methodology for investigating the information provided to students on choices of college to attend, careers to target, specific courses to take, and majors to declare. Having such information is critical to implementing strategies aimed at escorting a more diverse and inclusive flow of students from high school to college. 

“Geography educators at all levels across the United States have done a lot over the past 20 years to enhance geography education in the K-12 social studies curriculum, but we aren’t seeing large, corresponding, across-the-board increases that we had hoped for in college-level geography course enrollment and major declarations nationwide,” says Mosher. “In particular, we don’t see rising numbers of women and students of color. Our goal is to figure out if we can enlist student support service professionals to help communicate the value of geography and geospatial technologies in ways that will resonate with a more diverse array of high school and beginning college students.”

This grant is one of three new projects approved under the Transformative Research grant program of the NCRGE, a research consortium headquartered at the American Association of Geographers (AAG) and Texas State University.  Grantees will present the results of their projects in a special symposium planned for the 2018 AAG Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Read more about this initiative at