Chair of the Department of Geography, Director of the Sustainability Academic Program, Associate Professor of Geography
"I firmly believe that GW has the explicit responsibility and obligation to prepare students with the knowledge and practice of being socially responsible citizens in a diverse democracy and increasingly interconnected world. One way to do this is to integrate Service-Learning into the classroom. For many years I have integrated Service-Learning into many of my upper-division courses. I have done so to show students the power of geography to make a difference. I organize class-based projects for a community partner. For example, in my urban planning class, I organized students to work with Casey Trees to map campus street trees. In my urban geography class, I’ve assigned students to map social services in DC and to produce an analysis of the accessibility to these services on behalf of our community client, So Others Might Live, a community-based organization that focuses on the homeless and the poor. So Others Might Live, in turn, has used this information to fill gaps in services, and to apply for grants. In my graduate seminar on Urban Sustainability, I have had students conduct research around sustainability planning for the Urban Land Institute and the Brookings Institution.
Integrating Service-Learning requires significant time to initiate, organize and manage. But I believe strongly that Service-Learning enriches the classroom experience and challenges students to learn valuable practical skills and can transform their thinking about the subject matter. By integrating Service-Learning into my classes, students learn by doing."