UNA, AGA Meeting in Capitol Hill This Week

Mar. 1, 2011


FLORENCE, Ala. – University of North Alabama faculty members Dr. Bill Strong and Dr. Lisa Keys-Mathews, co-coordinators of the Alabama Geographic Alliance, are meeting on Capitol Hill this week with National Geographic during the 2011 Alliance Network Annual Meeting.

Strong said National Geographic funds the AGA with grants for educational initiatives across the state. During the national meeting in Washington, D.C., Strong and Mathews are meeting with congressional delegates in promoting a bill called “Teaching Geography Is Fundamental,” which, if passed, will apply to the United States as a whole and could possibly bring in geography education funding to Alabama.

The AGA is hosted by the UNA Department of Geography and works to provide professional development, curriculum materials and networking opportunities in an outreach effort to stress the importance of geography education for K-12 students in Alabama.

“It is intellectually exciting to be with peers who have a common purpose and goals focused on creating or enhancing a geographically literate population,” said Strong, who has worked for more than 20 years for this cause. “Our students get to hear what we’re doing on a national level.”

While in Washington, Strong and Mathews will also partake in the strategic planning process, where they will lay out their vision for the next 3-5 years, as well as their long-term goals until the year 2025. They will have the opportunity to visit the National Geographic Museum, where they will receive private showings and special presentations related to their fields.

Mathews, who has been an AGA co-coordinator for two years, hopes to network at the meeting in order to benefit UNA students who are interested in furthering their studies at other universities or finding careers across the country.

“My goal is to establish some kind of relationships for our teachers [at UNA] to get them out of the state and into others,” she said.

For more information, contact the UNA Department of Geography at 256-765-4218.