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John McGee receives national award for expanding geospatial education

July 24, 2015 – John McGee, a professor and geospatial specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, received the 2015 Distinguished Geospatial Education Partner Award from the National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence.

McGee was recognized for his work with the Expanding Geospatial Technician Education Through Virginia’s Community Colleges (GeoTEd) project, a Virginia-focused effort designed to build academic pathways to employment for geospatial technicians through Virginia’s community colleges.

Because geospatial technology is an increasingly prevalent tool employed worldwide, efforts are focused on training a workforce prepared with geospatial skills applicable to fields as diverse as tourism, finance, real estate, epidemiology, marketing, emergency response, natural resources management, agriculture, and transportation.

According to the Department of Labor, the tremendous growth potential of geospatial technology is limited only by the educational system’s ability to provide future workers.

The award recognizes the GeoTEd project, for which McGee is a co-investigator, for work “that has made significant contributions in support of geospatial education at two-year colleges.” McGee shared the award with his co-investigators: Chris Carter (principal investigator), Virginia Space Grant Consortium; David Webb, GeoTEd consultant; Chérie Aukland, Thomas Nelson Community College; and Sandy Stephenson, Southwest Virginia Community College.

GeoTEd works with partnering community colleges to lead students to careers in geospatial technology by increasing the number of courses the schools offer in geospatial topics. Importantly, GeoTEd “trains the trainers” by educating faculty, staff, and administration. Partnering community colleges then serve as models for other colleges to further disseminate geospatial education throughout the state.  (continue reading...........)

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