JMU Geography Earns Top Recognition from AAG


By: Meghan Long, CISE Student Writer

The James Madison University Geography Program is now a nationally recognized collegiate program. The American Association of Geographers (AAG) named JMU GS as one of two recipients of the 2021 Award for Bachelors' Program Excellence in Geography.

"I think it's fantastic to be nationally recognized," said Program Director Mace Bentley. "JMU Geography is an outstanding program that is dedicated to effective teaching, scholarship and serving our world. Our achievement is testament to our excellent faculty and students who embody this vision." 

The award seeks to honor the most prestigious Geography departments and programs throughout the country. "Such programs play an important role in educating future geographers and promoting the discipline to a wider world," states The AAG in a letter announcing the award. 

To be considered for this award, departments must go through four rounds of competition, provide numerous amounts of documentation, and face reviews from faculty from across the country.

The AAG recognizes the "remarkable growth" of the JMU Geography program—which has increased over the last nine years. The organization also accredits the program's commitment to investing in high-impact teaching practices that allow JMU Geography undergraduate students meaningful field experiences in water resources, advanced cultural geography, and biogeography. This work occurs with local partners such as Keister Elementary and Shenandoah National Park as well as abroad with schools in Malta, Haiti, Nepal, and East Africa. The program also boasts a strong network of alumni and excellent working relationships between colleagues.

This recognition is awarded annually by AAG and affords the top programs with a cash prize. JMU Geography is recognized alongside Kennesaw State University's Department of Geography and Anthropology in Georgia. Together, the programs continue to elevate the discipline of Geography and strengthen undergraduate students' opportunities.

“We are incredibly proud of the accomplishments of the students and faculty of the Geography program, says Bob Kolvoord, Dean of JMU’s College of Integrated Science and Engineering. “This award from the AAG makes it clear that the program has national recognition and impact.  We’re excited about the future of Geography at JMU."

Learn more about the JMU Geography Program.


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Published: Friday, April 23, 2021

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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