Teaching philosophyGeographic Information Systems
(GIS) provide an essential tool for handling spatial datasets across
disciplinary boundaries and within activities as diverse as public
administration, business management, and scientific research. Both, the
Nature and Science magazines
have recently devoted their attention to the ever-increasing career
opportunities related to GIS and other geo-technologies (,).
Since Ryerson University has a strong and longstanding commitment to
career-oriented education, the Department of Geography, formerly School
of Applied Geography, is an ideal place for GIS education.
The study of GIS and spatial
analysis methods is grounded in the Geographic Information Science &
Technology body of scholarly knowledge. As an instructor of undergraduate classes, I view myself responsible
for conveying thorough conceptual knowledge of GIScience along with stimulating enthusiasm and critical thought about
GIS software. As a teacher and supervisor of graduate students, I aim
to provide advanced training that enables and encourages students to
pursue a career in academia, government, or the private sector.
A characteristic of my teaching is the methods-oriented approach that
draws from examples in the science, social science, and health
disciplines, in which GIS can be applied. I aim to familiarize
students with more than one GIS software package, focusing on the
over-arching principles of GIS applications and enabling students to
quickly get acquainted with whatever GIS technology they may be asked
to work with in the course of their future careers. As part of a
critical approach to GIS education, I also like to emphasize the value of
open source GIS tools and the existence of an open source GIS community
that includes many Canadian academics and businesses.
As part of my teaching mission, I am also involving students in my
research projects through research assistant positions and individual
supervision of research projects, research papers and theses. This is a
way of getting hands-on experience with current GIS research and
development trends - not only for graduate students but equally for
talented undergraduates of diverse disciplinary backgrounds.
 Mapping opportunities, by Virginia Gewin, Oregon, Nature 427: 376-377 (22 January 2004). http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v427/n6972/full/nj6972-376a.html
 Careers in Geoscience and Remote Sensing, by Andrew Fazekas, Canada, ScienceCareers.org (19 August 2005). http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/3640/careers_in_geoscience_and_remote_sensing/