Since 2005, the Association of American Geographers has led “Enhancing Departments and Graduate Education in Geography (EDGE)”, a broad-based project aimed at strengthening graduate programs and enhancing the preparation of professional geographers for careers in higher education, government, business, and non-profit organizations. The project’s methodology has implemented surveys, interviews, and site observations to examine issues affecting the professional development and experiences of students in M.A./M.S. and Ph.D programs. This research has discovered, for example, that employers are facing shortages of talent with regard to hiring professionals skilled in methods of geographical analysis and problem solving. Such skills are needed for successful work in a wide variety of careers. EDGE has also examined the environments of geography graduate programs, highlighting certain cases where conditions in a department tend to marginalize women and minorities whereas other programs have successfully created a climate of support for all students. This research provides the empirical foundation for two AAG books, Aspiring Academics and Teaching College Geography, which were published by Pearson Prentice Hall in April 2008. The books provide engaging and practical advice to graduate students and early career faculty, and feature a companion website giving access to workshop materials, discussion forums, and other community-building technologies. The AAG has now implemented new programs designed to sustain the EDGE project and provide long-term support for the next generation of geographers.
Solem, M., Cheung, I., and Schlemper, B. 2008. Skills in Professional Geography: An Assessment of Workforce Needs and Expectations. The Professional Geographer, 60(3): 1-18.
Solem, M., Lee, J., and Schlemper, B. 2009. Departmental climate and student experiences in geography graduate programs. Research in Higher Education, 50(3): 268-292.
Solem, M. and Foote, K. 2009. Enhancing Departments and Graduate Education in Geography: A disciplinary project in professional development. International Journal of Researcher Development, 1(1): 11-28.
Solem, M., Foote, K., and Monk, J. (eds.) 2009. Aspiring Academics: A Resource Book for Graduate Students and Early Career Faculty Pearson Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ.
Solem, M. and Foote, K. Teaching College Geography: A Practical Guide for Graduate Students and Early Career Faculty Pearson Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ.
Companion website for Aspiring Academics and Teaching College Geography: www.pearsonhighered.com/aag