(a summary at the request of George Carras, 19 Jan 2001)

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Across the Curriculum:

Implementing Distribution to 15 Campuses

The text of our pre-proposal to the Learn Anytime Anyplace Program (LAAP) of FIPSE is at


The essence of the proposal: to create a collaboration among interested faculty at the 15 institutions of the Associated Colleges of the South to provide training and support to faculty interested in using GIS software for teaching and research.

Quoting from the proposal:

a three-year GIS Initiative to develop a spatial knowledgebase and distributed learning

environment to support teaching, learning, and research activities of the 15 members of the ACS, and to provide an exportable working model for GIS in post-secondary education. Elements included in this Initiative are: (1) construction of a server-based library of digital data available to all 15 campuses, (2) development of faculty and staff expertise with GIS, (3) creation of course and training materials to support integration of GIS across the curriculum, (4) use of the GIS materials to improve spatial information fluency, and (5) sharing of the implementation model nationally



A Project Director (at W&L) will oversee the collaboration among librarians, computer services, media specialists, teaching faculty, staff, and university administrators. A GIS Librarian (at W&L) will manage data acquisition, collection development, and creation and maintenance of an effective user interface; act as the primary contact for the digital library; and serve as liaison with project managers at ACS schools. An Information Services Coordinator (at W&L) will design and manage networking solutions and communicate with information services staff at ACS schools. A Project Coordinator (at ACS) will coordinate workshops, training, travel, and reimbursements. Project Managers at each campus (faculty or staff for whom the grant will provide stipends) will coordinate local implementation of the Initiative and serve as primary contacts for their campuses. Some ACS schools have summer programs for sponsored student research, which may be included in the GIS Initiative where practical.

What "went wrong"?

There were 391 proposals submitted, from which 52 were invited to submit full proposals, and they expected to give 12-14 grants. Reviews were quite brief, a few lines on each of the required sections (Significance, Design, Evaluation). Two of the reviewers liked our proposal overall (one thought there was low need for GIS, that it was of no interest in the context of Distance Education), but all 3 were unenthusiastic about the Project Evaluation component.

Any other questions:

Hugh Blackmer

Science Librarian

Washington & Lee University