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College of Arts & Sciences
Earth Sciences and Resources Institute (ESRI-SC)

Targeted Infusion Project: Building an interdisciplinary geosciences and geospatial intelligence curricula through applied training in mapping and spatial reasoning

National Science Foundation ($332,375 total; $60,000 for USC) PIs: Camelia Kantor (Claflin University), Camelia Knapp (ESRI-SC, EOS), Narcisa Pricope (University of North Carolina - Wilmington) Sep. 1, 2015 – Aug. 31, 2018


In response to an increased emphasis on geospatial literacy in many career fields thanks to rapid rise of consumer-use mobile devices and Geographic Information Systems’ growing utilization, the proposed project will contribute to the development of a more integrated, innovative, and project-based learning environment at Claflin University, a Historically Black College and University in South Carolina. This will be achieved by congruently offering interdisciplinary and synergistic human-physical geography pilot training to a group of thirty students majoring in STEM, social sciences, or education, and by designing a new special topics course in Applied Mapping and Spatial Reasoning. Therefore, the proposed project’s overall goal is to foster, advance, and strengthen interdisciplinary development and applied training in geosciences and geospatial intelligence of a diverse workforce. The goal will be reached by achieving the following cognitive, affective, and behavioral objectives: Cognitive-learn principles and methods for describing physical and human earth features; decode, comprehend, analyze and place maps in their proper spatial and chronological contexts; utilize modern technologies to collect web-based and field data; and create and interpret discipline specific maps; Affective-be sensitive and aware of a map’s spatial, chronological, and cultural contexts to identify possible bias; value the role of geospatial literacy in today’s job market; understand and appreciate the relevance of minority involvement in geospatial decision-making; and have positive feelings
toward geoscience and geospatial intelligence; Behavioral-interact with geospatial phenomena in their natural states; incorporate geospatial concepts and skills into one’s career; and utilize acquired know-how for community decision-making. Students will be progressively introduced to the theoretical and applied principles and methods that govern geosciences, including geospatial project-based active learning approaches that incorporate discovery-guided research, interactive, personalized, and mobile learning, as well as modern human geography. A combination of traditional, online, and field based training will be used to provide the foundation in the geosciences for future professionals destined for diverse careers during the first two years, whereas the third year will be allocated to the development of the new course, its approval process, and the planning for its first year implementation as well as to student mentorship.

Intellectual Merit:
One of the overarching contributions and novel points of this proposal is its emphasis on geospatial analysis integration and cross-fertilization into STEM and non-STEM fields of study, designed to seamlessly and synergistically combine natural and social sciences with the educational field with the help of state-of-the art technology and collaborative applied learning. In addition to stimulating student leadership engagement and development, the proposed model’s intellectual merit consists of providing students with a foundation in biophysical and human characteristics of our planet and contributing to their understanding, knowledge, and ability to perform modern geospatial analysis.

Broader Impacts:
The broader impact will be realized through providing minority students expected to become local community leaders with spatial theoretical and practical knowledge and skills needed to solve complex problems that have become critical to scientific leadership, economic competencies, and national security. Therefore, this proposal will contribute to: building and broadening access to and knowledge of geosciences at HBCUs; increasing STEM and non-STEM capacity with emphasis on spatial data analysis and spatial representations; and increasing diversity in the geosciences and geospatial intelligence workforce.