Association of American Geographers
About AAG Membership Annual Meeting Projects & Programs Education Publications Calendar Of Events Jobs & Careers

AAG Careers and Professional Development Webinar Series

In fall 2020, AAG piloted a new webinar series as a service to AAG members and the wider geography community. The series is an extension of successful AAG efforts to support our members and their work through meetings, workshops and publications. Although the topics focus on issues for geographers navigating their early careers and geography leadership building and growing strong academic programs, these subjects can be insightful for everyone.

The AAG is pleased to announce the continuation of the webinar series in 2021, due to the high level of interest in these topics. Dates, times and URLs for the upcoming webinars will be added to this page as soon as they are available.  

The series is organized by Ken Foote (University of Connecticut), Shannon O’Lear (University of Kansas) and Mark Revell (AAG).



If you missed attending the sessions, you may view the recorded versions below. In some cases, transcript links are also included.

Making the Case for Geography

Communicating geography’s value to wider audiences is a long-standing challenge for our field. This leadership series webinar brings together three of our discipline’s leaders, Dave Kaplan, Alec Murphy and Marie Price, who focus on the value of and challenges to the discipline of geography. It was originally held and recorded on Sept. 25, 2020.

Watch the recording (use passcode: gQFe!0!M)

View the chat notes

Encroachment or Opportunity? Geography in a World of Interdisciplinary Programs

What are the opportunities and challenges faced by geography departments among a growing number of interdisciplinary programs in closely related fields, such as Environmental Studies, Global and International Studies, GIScience, Urban Studies, Geosciences, Environmental Science and Sustainability Studies? Sometimes geographers have built alliances with nearby disciplines, in others competition has ensued. These issues have led to questions about rebranding, renaming, merging or blending geography with other programs. These four geography leaders have faced these questions as academic leaders in a range of universities.

This leadership series webinar features Grant Saff, Melissa Gilbert, Kavita Pandit, and Hengchun Ye and will be coordinated with the joint, virtual Race, Ethnicity and Place Conference and Middle Atlantic regional AAG meeting. It was originally held and recorded on Oct. 23, 2020.

Watch the recording (use passcode: raR8#kwu)

View the chat notes

Positive Steps Toward Tenure

This session focuses on the many questions that arise as early career faculty move toward tenure review, such as:

  • What are the expectations for tenure in my department or university? How can I find out?
  • Where are the best places to publish and what are good strategies for building a publishing record?
  • Should I obtain internal or external grants? Which ones are best? Will they count?
  • How do I balance teaching, service and research to build my career?
  • How can I use service strategically towards both me and my program?

All of these questions can make the tenure process stressful. This session aims to reduce this stress by pointing out positive steps early career faculty can take along the way to build strong records in research, teaching and service.

Join panelists Katherine Hankins (Chair, Geosciences, Georgia State University), Benjamin Ofori-Amoah (Chair, Geography, Environment, and Tourism, Western Michigan University), and others as they answer many questions that arise as early career faculty move toward tenure review. This webinar was originally held and recorded on Oct. 30, 2020.

Watch the recording (use passcode: iDN&F5%H)

Charting Your Career Pathway in Geography and Geotechnologies

Lifelong geographer Joseph Kerski discusses:

  • What are the forces and trends that will be acting in geography and geotechnologies in the decade of the 2020s? 
  • How can you effectively chart your own career pathway by embracing these forces and trends, and by building five key skills? 

Joseph has served as geographer in four sectors of society (industry, government, nonprofit, and academia) and promises to make this a lively and informative workshop where you are welcome to interact and ask questions.

This was held and recorded Nov. 6, 2020, and coordinated with the Southeast Division SEDAAG Regional Meeting.

Watch the recording (use passcode: *kj42#6z)

What's in a Name? Undergraduate Student Perceptions of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability Key Words and Program Names

What attracts students to our courses and to our majors? Three co-authors of a forthcoming Annals article have helped answer these questions by surveying more than 4,000 undergraduates at four U.S. universities, asking them to rate key words from course titles and descriptions as well as degree and department names. The results suggest strategies for attracting students to our classes, and majors to our programs. Among the key findings that will be discussed are that undergraduates overwhelmingly and consistently preferred simple, thematic types of terms to those that sounded more technical or science oriented. Forms of the word geography were rated significantly lower than words or phrases containing environment and sustainability. Forms of geography that included the word science were rated particularly low.This leadership webinar features Justin Stoler (University of Miami), Amber Pearson (Michigan State University) and Diana Ter-Ghazaryan (Florida International University). This session is coordinated with the Southwest Regional Division regional meeting and is also part of AAG's recognition of Geography Awareness Week. It was originally held and recorded on Nov. 17, 2020.

Watch the recording (use passcode: @9QEz=i7)

Careers in Geography: A Discussion with Business, Government, and Nonprofit Sector Geographers

Geography graduates have everything it takes for success in today’s workforce. Their unique mix of interdisciplinary knowledge, skills and abilities have perhaps never been more relevant. Geospatial skills are in high demand across all sectors of the workforce, from state, local and federal government, to NGOs, businesses and consulting firms large and small. But selling your skills to employers who might not understand the value of a degree in geography can be extremely challenging and frustrating. Let’s face it: there just aren’t many job listings out there that say “Wanted: Geographer.” So where do you start?

This session brings together practicing geographers from a broad range of employment sectors to showcase the dynamic career options available to geography graduates. Each panelist will talk for ~5 minutes on how they landed their first job “in the field,” after which the session will be opened up to audience Q&A. 

This special webinar features practicing geographers Joshua Comenetz (U.S. Census Bureau), Caitlin Kontgis (Descartes Labs), Louvere Walker-Hannon (MathWorks), Trang VoPham (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center), and Tim Fullman (The Wilderness Society) about the dynamic career options available to geography graduates. It was originally held and recorded on Nov. 20, 2020 and a highlight of Geography Awareness Week.

Watch the recording (use passcode: 9fKS5Q#H)

Building a Strong Professional Network – A Research Approach

Building and maintaining a professional network are key elements of long term career success and job satisfaction. Why? Strong networks provide more professional opportunities, insights into coming trends and industry changes, knowledge sharing and advice, and insights into the unwritten rules of various professional environments and workplaces. And yet, many of us avoid networking because it feels disingenuous, awkward, inauthentic – the list goes on. However, using a research approach and reorienting ourselves to view networking as an opportunity to gain and share knowledge can lessen our aversion to networking and instead supports the building of strong, effective professional networks that are mutually beneficial and rewarding. It was originally held and recorded on Jan. 27, 2021.

Watch the recording (use passcode: Z4w$p2Qc)

Geography, Demography, and Enrollments in US Higher Education through the 2020s

Enrollments in post-secondary education in the United States have long reflected broader socioeconomic, demographic, and political trends, including the post-World War II baby boom and the GI Bill, the Civil Rights Movement, and the increase in female workforce participation, to name a few examples. More recently, prominent venues including The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and especially Nathan D. Grawe’s Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education (2018) have drawn attention to the implications of demographic shifts for higher education enrollments through the 2020s.

Specifically, traditional college-age cohorts are expected to decline by 10-15 percent nationally in the decade following 2025. This trend is already evident in the Northeast and will gradually diffuse through the Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, Midwest, and Great Plains before eventually manifesting in the South and West. Additionally, college-age cohorts will continue to become more diverse. Finally, public financial support for post-secondary education is expected to remain flat or continue to decline, a trend likely accelerated by the pandemic, which will make universities even more dependent on tuition.

This webinar will discuss the potential impacts of these longer-term demographic changes for higher education in general and geography in particular. Panelists include Joshua Hagen (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point), Kathleen Schroeder (Appalachian State University), Grady Dixon (Fort Hays State University), and LaDona Knigge (California State University Chico). It was held and recorded on February 10, 2021.

Watch the recording (use passcode: kkjA6?J8). For presenter slides, contact Mark Revell (

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Graduate Students and Graduate Programs

Graduate students and graduate programs are facing many challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Research projects have been upended, travel curtailed, funding cancelled, student recruiting disrupted, and teaching, advising and mentoring suddenly shifted online.  In a socially distanced world, even sustaining a sense of community can prove difficult.

To give voice to a range of concerns and possible solutions, the panel includes grad students and faculty from a range of major programs around the U.S. including Reece Knapic (U Kansas), James McCarthy (Clark U), Darla Munroe (Ohio State U), Elisa Sperandio (U Arizona), and Tom Perreault (Syracuse U). It was held and recorded on February 24, 2021.

Watch the recording (use passcode 2%uBy9m^)

Careers in Geography: A Discussion with Geographers in Government/Public Sector Careers

Geography is an interdisciplinary field that provides a solid foundation for careers in all levels of government. Join panelists Jennifer Zanoni (U.S. Census Bureau), Stacy Drury (U.S. Forest Service), Suparna Das (DC Department of Health), Milena Janiec (U.S. Geological Survey), and Rich Quodomine (City of Philadelphia) as they discuss key issues affecting career opportunities for geographers and improving their preparation for employment in public sector careers. It was held and recorded on March 24, 2021.

Watch the recording (use passcode: vJ4yD&m9)

Creating Inclusive Courses and Curricula in Geography

This webinar features four speakers discussing different approaches to designing inclusive courses and building an inclusive curriculum in geography. It was held and recorded on April 28, 2021.

• A model for including students’ geographies in geography education with a specific example of how this model can be integrated into inclusive curriculum.
• A data-driven approach for developing an inclusive curriculum pathway aligned with student aspirations.
• Five checks for inclusive design in online courses, insights from a Hispanic serving institution at which nearly 50% of students are 1st generation college students.


Beth Schlemper is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toledo. Her primary research interests are in geography education and historical/cultural geography. Schlemper has served as a PI and co-PI on educational projects funded by NSF and has also published on immigration, regional identity and construction.

Sujata Shetty is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toledo. Her research focus is on the challenges faced by old industrial cities experiencing deep population loss, often called “legacy cities.” Her work explores the role of urban planning in these under-resourced communities from multiple perspectives, including land use, housing, education and neighborhood-based community development.

Michael Solem is a Professor in the Department of Geography at Texas State University. He serves the AAG as Senior Advisor for Geography Education and co-Director of the National Center for Research in Geography Education.

Sean Taylor is an Instructional Designer at Texas State University. He is passionate about student engagement and racial justice in the classroom.

Watch the recording (use passcode: KTiQz3C^). For presenter slides, contact Mark Revell (

How to be a Good Colleague

Many of us have spent most if not all of this past year working remotely and away from our university campuses, departmental buildings, and actual office spaces. Our contact with colleagues has come in the form of scheduled meetings on Zoom, Teams, or WebEx. Some of our colleagues have been hired during the pandemic and have not met co-workers in person. With many institutions planning to return to in-person teaching in the fall, that means returning to in-person interactions at work. Are we prepared? Have we ever been properly prepared in How to Be a Good Colleague and why that matters? We all want to feel welcome, appreciated, and valued when we show up at work, and this session is designed to help all of us understand the value of being a good colleague to others. Instead of assuming that someone else is doing the work of shaping and maintaining the culture and practices of a healthy workplace, each of us can (and probably should) contribute to this shared resource. Panelists for this session have given considerable thought to issues of onboarding, collegiality, and how a healthy department is widely beneficial for students, staff, and faculty. The webinar was held and recorded on May 12, 2021.

Watch the recording (use passcode: Ytk^w6m1). For presenter slides, contact Mark Revell (