UCCS-based Colorado Geographic Alliance receives $50,000 grant

The Colorado Geographic Alliance at UCCS recently received an inaugural collaborative planning grant of $50,000 from the National Geographic Education Foundation, one of three COGA_logosuch grants awarded to members of the Network of Alliances for Geographic Education.

Collaborative grants provide funding to support creative, forward-thinking concepts and ideas in support of the teaching and learning of geography.

Steve Jennings, associate professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, and a coordinator of the Colorado Geographic Alliance, said working with other geographic alliances and their teacher leaders strengthens efforts to improve geography education in Colorado and across the nation.

A collaborative is composed of three or more Geographic Alliances and organizations such as schools, school districts, state departments of education, other educational organizations, other nonprofit organizations, and businesses.

Using the grant, the Colorado Geographic Alliance, in partnership with The Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources and the geographic alliances in Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon, will create a program to develop a workshop model for teachers. The workshop model will incorporate historical maps, primary source thematic maps, and other geographic representations. This information can be used to obtain, describe and compare spatial patterns and information about people, places, events, regions and environments as an essential resource for answering key questions. Teacher leaders in these four states will serve as the initial developers for this project, which has potential to affect how students think about maps across the country.

The Network of Alliances is a grassroots organization dedicated to supporting geographic education. Each alliance is a partnership between university faculty and K-12 educators that connects educators, provides world-class professional development for teachers, creates and disseminates educational resources, boosts public awareness of the importance of geography and advocates for public policies that will lead to improvements in geography education. For more than 20 years, the National Geographic Education Foundation and the Alliances have worked collaboratively to instigate geography education reform across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

“The National Geographic Education Foundation is advancing geo-literacy across the U.S. and beyond by supporting programs, activities and materials that current research, educators and experience tell us are the most effective ways to teach geography in the classroom,” Bob Dulli, NGEF deputy director, said.  “In the 21st century, we are more connected than ever. Geography education helps students better understand this interconnected world and how it impacts their lives, which is essential to both their future and the future of this country.”

Since 1988, NGEF has awarded more than $85 million in grants to promote and advance geographic education. In addition to funding from NGEF, the majority of alliances receive financial support from other sources. More than 30 alliances have permanent endowments for geography education within the foundation.

For more information on the Colorado Geographic Alliance, visit http://www.uccs.edu/coga/

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